Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Open and Distance Learning (ODL) is gradually gaining ground in Africa. Nigeria is a newcomer in the Open and Distance Learning paradigm. The experiences of several open and distance learning institutions such as the Open University of United Kingdom (OUUK), Athabasca University (Canada’s Open University), Open University of Hong Kong, Indira Gandhi National Open University, (IGNOU), and University of South Africa (UNISA), have provided a baseline for the take-off of the only Open University in Nigeria – the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). The successful take-off of NOUN is not without the incorporation of functional libraries. Effective library support to distance learners is mandatory for qualitative delivery of instruction and learning. This is where the developments in information and telecommunications are potent. This gave impetus to the development of virtual library services or library without walls. This development has definite benefits to distance learners. Developed and developing countries are now creating virtual learning environments and libraries without walls to reach multitudes of learners at various locations. This paper examines the general experiences of ODL in Africa, the evolution of ODL in Nigeria and the structure of library services provided to distant learners, particularly in Nigeria. It examines the challenges in creating and delivering a library without walls for distance education and the prospects of such a library without walls in a developing country like Nigeria. The paper will also present a discussion on how NOUN is developing creative solutions to the challenges.