Open Lecture at Closed Prices

From time to time, I get emails from various listservs that I'm a part of. This time, my mailbox had a letter from Simmons GSLIS.

The Open Movement and Libraries
Online -- February 1 - 28, 2009
$250 ($200 for Simmons GSLIS alums)

Am I the only one that sees something wrong with this picture? If we're talking about Open Source and Open Access, why are we insisting on closing doors by charging several hundred dollars during a Depression? (Sure, folks are calling this a Recession right now, but that's another story.) The very nature of this screams professional hypocrisy to me.

Shouldn't our continuing education be offered for low or no cost, particularly when the medium of delivery is the World Wide Web? As an online alum, I'm well aware of the costs associated with setup. However, is this not the sort of thing our National professional association could sponsor? Wouldn't it be better for Simmons to offer one workshop or course per year with limited open registration for no or low cost? Could we take a SRRT sort of sliding fee approach, in particular when we're addressing access so that new voices can be heard? I'm not calling for all of the lecture series at Simmons to be free of charge, but wouldn't it be great to have a special lecture series every now and again that's readily available? The Boston Athenaeum with the cooperation of the Boston Public Library offered one such series.

Perhaps I was just spoilt abroad during my junior year. At Trinity College, all of my extracurricular clubs were to charge no more than 2 quid for membership. I joined practically everything that appealed to me. Further more, the Classics department sponsored receptions either gratis or for extremely low cost in order to bring in as many students as possible. The government defrayed the cost of tuition to the point that the cost of attendance per year including fees was several hundred pounds.

The Library and Information Science field routinely cripples itself by not providing extensive, rich opportunities to learn at little or no cost. Let's move away from this in future.