WiderNet's Jennifer Abagyeh Talks to LISSO Students

WiderNet's Jennifer Abagyeh Talks to LISSO Students

On Monday, 9/26, Jennifer Abagyeh visited the LISSO meeting to talk about her work with The WiderNet Project.  Ms. Abagyeh installs eGranary Digital Libraries for international organizations, universities and colleges, and libraries in her native Nigeria to provide educational resources for those who do not have access to the internet.

Electrical power in Nigeria is inconsistent and unreliable, so most institutions are forced to rely on their own back-up generators.  This makes it difficult for universities and public buildings to power computer labs.  Internet subscriptions are also very expensive, ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 a month.  USB wireless sticks are common alternatives, but they cost about $50 to $100 a month and do not allow for downloads bigger than 1 GB.  The combination of the expensive internet access and unreliable power supply makes the use of the internet for educational purposes very difficult.

WiderNet’s eGranary "looks, acts, and smells like the internet, but isn't."  Patrons pay a one-time fee — no subscription required — and can download software, watch videos, or search their digital library which includes over 375 complete websites, 250 academic and medical journals, 30,000 books.

Especially valuable in Nigeria is WiderNet's Global Disability Rights Library.  According to the 2009 census there are about 150 million people in Nigeria, and a good number of those people are either living with a disability or have a family member who is.  By providing greater access to documents regarding disability rights, patrons are able to educate themselves and others about their rights to things like wheelchair ramps and elevators in public buildings, services that we in the United States often take for granted.

Jennifer Abagyeh has personally installed 45 eGranaries in 36 states in Nigeria.  A full-time student in economics at the University of Abuja, she is the only full-time staff working in her country.
WiderNet is currently looking to hire a digital librarian.