Thursday 13 August - Bridge over Troubled Water – how do we span the Digital Divide?

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From left: Elaine Westbrooks, David Prosser and Nkem Osuigwe

The Covid-19 pandemic – and the associated need for social distancing – has meant that university libraries around the world are now operating on a largely digital, and therefore remote, basis. This has exacerbated the digital divide for students and researchers who can’t afford the equipment necessary to work remotely, or who live in areas where wifi (and even mobile phone reception) is not available.

This webcast features three members of the academic library community for whom this has been an issue and we aim to find out how they are dealing with the digital divide now, and their plans for the future. The panel will define the concept of the digital divide as it relates to them, their organisations and their countries, how the divide has been exacerbated – or otherwise – by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, how they have been dealing with the situation as it affects them, and what plans they have to bridge the digital divide in the future. 

The panel comprises: 

  • Elaine L. Westbrooks – vice provost of university libraries and university librarian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Elaine is responsible for the leadership and general administration of the university libraries;
  • David Prosser – executive director of RLUK, which is a consortium of the most significant research libraries in the UK and Ireland, and whose purpose is to shape the research library agenda; and
  • Nkem Osuigwe – human capacity development and training director at AFLIA – the African Library and Information Associations and Institutions.