21 August 2006

Sri Lanka's AGRINET extends information access

At the recent IFLA meeting in Korea, I. Mudannayake describes the experiences of agricultural libraries in Sri Lanka in building up partnership with the extension services to improve access to information by farmers. The Department of Agriculture is moving towards electronic services such as 'cyber extension' which is at its infancy stage; 'toll-free telephone services' for farmers; and is collaborating with AGRINET (Agriculture Information Network) of Sri Lanka in improving access to information.

Some experiences or lessons drawn by the author are that: building up strong links with agriculture extension services is vital - and a challenge - for the librarians; once a link is established with an institution, the librarians need to have constant contacts with the officials to actively participate with their regular extension agendas; it is essential that agriculture librarians to be aware of the types of extension services carried out by different agricultural institutions, and to which programme that they will be best fit into; new skills are required by the librarians to design, produce and repackage information; and that librarians working in networks, groups or consortia facilitates the partnership of agriculture extension services and libraries.




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