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Live Online Classes in Library and Information Science

written by: Heather Marie Kosur•edited by: Sylvia Cochran•updated: 6/6/2010

This article is the first part in the series Online Library and Information Science Classes through Lyrasis and focuses on the live online classes offered by Lyrasis.

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    What Is Lyrasis?

    Lyrasis is a regional membership organization for libraries and information professionals that formed in 2009 as a result of a merger between two well-established regional library networks: PALINET and SOLINET. As an organization that offers memberships to individual institutions and institutional groups, Lyrasis currently provides services and support to over 4,000 members in nearly one-third of the United States as well as other countries from all over the world. According to the Lyrasis vision statement, the organization strives to benefit library and information institutions and professionals through means such as extending networks and collaborative efforts, offering personalized consultations, and expanding educational services. One of the ways in which Lyrasis meets the educational needs of librarians is through its live online class offerings.

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    What Are Live Online Classes?

    Live online classes are short real-time instructional sessions that take place in a virtual rather than a physical classroom setting. Most Lyrasis courses allow up to fourteen students per class in which the participants will listen to the instructor, watch demonstrations and slideshows, ask questions, and interact with other students. Most live online classes involve a single one- or two-hour session although some courses occur over multiple days. For example, Preservation of Photographic Materials is a one-day class while Archives Preservation is a three-day class.

    Lyrasis offers library science classes online in the following areas:

    • Administration
    • Cataloging & Metadata
    • Conferences & Meetings
    • Digital Services
    • Internet
    • Legal Issues
    • OCLC Products & Services
    • Open Source
    • Personal Development
    • Preservation
    • Professional Development
    • Programming & Marketing
    • Reference
    • Resource Sharing
    • Technology
    • Web Design

    Live online Lyrasis classes more closely resemble traditional library workshops in that students must attend the virtual sessions at specified times and can interact with the teacher and fellow students in the virtual classroom in real-time.

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    How Much Do Live Online Classes Cost?

    The fees for the majority of live online classes offered through Lyrasis generally range from $120 to $220 for members and $170 to $270 for non-members. (Members are defined as Institutional Members— university libraries, public library systems, archives, museums, historical societies, similar organizations—and Group Members—networks and consortia—who have joined Lyrasis.) Some classes may cost more or less depending on the specific content. Lyrasis also offers early bird pricing, providing students who register at least three weeks in advance $10 off the registration fee. Students with valid student IDs also receive a discount for some classes. For students who register for classes less than two weeks before the class date, Lyrasis charges an additional $25 late processing charge.

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    Why Take Lyrasis Live Online Classes?

    Lyrasis live online library classes are for students who prefer a more traditional classroom setting but who cannot physically attend face-to-face seminars and workshops. The live online classes offered through Lyrasis are not self-paced but rather more closely resemble a traditional educational environment in which students must log into the virtual classroom at a predetermined time for a specified time period. Class participants are then able to listen to the instructor deliver the information orally usually with accompanying visuals and ask questions throughout the class session. Live online classes mimic traditional classes in a virtual setting.

    After the completion of each course, students receive an official certificate of participation, which verifies their completing the online library class. Live online classes through Lyrasis are practical for librarians who want to gain knowledge outside their areas of expertise (for example, a preservation librarian who wants to gain a basic understanding of cataloging) and are especially beneficial for library assistants and library technicians without library degrees who want to increase their knowledge of the library profession. For example, the Library 101 track is a program of six classes that is designed to teach librarians at small public or school libraries about the overall management of such libraries. Most importantly, Lyrasis offers educational services outside the realm of academic graduate library programs.

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