October 21, 2014
Chapel Hill, North Carolina (October 21, 2014) –
How do librarians fight Ebola? The WiderNet Project and WiderNet@UNC have created the Ebola Emergency Response Library initiative to create a pocket library for people, especially the Liberian and Sierra Leonean health care workers, responding to the Ebola crisis in Africa.
The UNC-based service project and its non-profit sister organization is collecting high-quality digital resources for everyone from physicians and researchers to families, teachers, and school children. The collection will be highlighted on their website, but most importantly will be distributed on 32GB memory chips for use in smartphones, tablets, and laptops in places that lack internet access. The chips can be freely copied so that the information spreads faster than the disease.
Version 1.0 of the Ebola Emergency Response Library will be delivered on November 13th, World Kindness Day.
Much of the developing world lacks internet access and therefore access to essential medical information. For example, in Sierra Leone, a West African country hit hard by the current outbreak, only 1.7% of the people have access to the Internet. The eGranary Digital Library, WiderNet Project’s 14-year-old centerpiece program, is an off-line collection of over 32 million resources, including videos, articles, books and images, accessible over local area networks at speeds thousands of times faster than typical Internet connections. The eGranary already contains millions of general resources for health care trainers and practitioners, but will now include a portal specifically geared to help fight the spread of Ebola.
The portal will include practical information critically needed in the hardest hit areas: Ebola factsheets and basic information, such as symptoms, treatment, and prevention of Ebola; training information for medical staff; resources for those dealing with grief and loss; occupational health and safety guidelines; case studies and reports; general resources for emergency preparedness; travel safety; posters and other print materials for posting in public places; and safe burial practices for the victims of Ebola.
“After living and working with Liberians in years past, we felt compelled to help support the health care workers who are risking their lives every day to help care for others,” notes Cliff Missen, WiderNet Project Director. “These are the true heroes of this epidemic. We want to do everything we can do to help spread practical information to those who need it most.”
You can “chip in” to support this project by donating a 32GB memory chip, help fund the project logistics and librarians, and donating resources on Ebola treatment and prevention, travel safety, and information for the general public.
Please visit our Web sites to learn more, volunteer, or help fund this project: