(Updated: Lynda.com has been re-named LinkedIn Learning.)

Recently purchased by LinkedIn for $1.5 billion, the tutorial and training website Lynda.com sets the standard for helpful, professionally produced online training courses. Their 3,600+ courses range from how to use software (often, better than the training provided by the software provider) and courses and tutorials in a wide array of business and creative topics and skills. The best news: LinkedIn Learning is now offering public libraries a licensing arrangement that allows library members to access Lynda.com for free through the library’s website. Supporting your local library in purchasing such a license (they can be expensive) can be a great investment in both your community and your business.

LinkedIn Learning pricing

Most tutorials provided by Lynda.com require a subscription to access. For individuals, that fee can range from $20 to $35 per month (Tip: The best subscription deal is an annual $360 subscription that includes a feature to download courses for offline use on a mobile app. This plan works out to $30 per month, but must be paid for annually). Lynda.com also provides group discounts if you purchase plans for five or more users. (They require those who want a group plan to contact them for pricing.)

There are two ways to consider the pricing.

You can view the pricing of Lynda.com in two ways. Take your pick.

Expensive | A subscription to Lynda.com is expensive when compared to tutorials provided free online like, say, by using Google to find tutorials on YouTube or participating in a Massive Open Online Course, or, for that matter, finding help to a question here on SmallBusiness.com. (Remember what Mom said, “you get what you pay for.”)

Inexpensive | A subscription to Lynda.com is very inexpensive when compared to attending a half-day conference or a continuing-education course. It’s less expensive than a semester credit at a for-profit online college. And that’s for just one course compared to 3,600+ courses from Lynda.com.

But wait, there’s more: Free and discounted ways to access Lynda.com courses

INCREDIBLY FREE | Your local library may have a Lynda.com license

We’ve previously shouted out our love for the way public and university libraries are reaching out to support their local small business and entrepreneurial communities. Add to that shout-out the growing number of libraries that are providing their members free access to Lynda.com courses. Such courses are available online through the library’s website and do not require the participant to be at the library. Users must, however, be a member of the library (something called “having a library card” in the olden days).

A library group license can be a major investment by the library. According to Library Journal, annual prices are based on population served, and can range from $4,500 for a small library to “up to the high five figures” for a large system. “Subscribing libraries receive a set number of user licenses that will cap the number of patrons that can use Lynda.com simultaneously, but based on usage in pilot tests, the company does not expect libraries to exceed limits for concurrent use,” according to Library Journal.

Again, we love public libraries.

FREE (for various lengths of time) | LinkedIn Premium promotion

Lynda.com has consistently experimented with various introductory membership pricing and discount approaches. Typically, there are several days of free introduction use for those who have never had a Lynda.com account. However (and this is new, but not necessarily universal) LinkedIn.com premium account users are being offered 30-day, and perhaps longer, free access to Lynda.com. (Prediction: In the future, look for a LinkedIn.com (super) premium subscription that includes Lynda.com.)

Discount (for various lengths of time) | Lots of places

If you search, you’ll find promotional codes that will provide a discount—for example, $60 off a $360 subscription—for first time subscribers. Such discounts are ever-changing and may require a little searching to discover.

Best deal (as always): Contact your local library. If they currently do not offer a group license, consider helping them raise the funds to purchase one. (Do they have a support group like a “library foundation”? Perhaps a tax-free campaign can be used.)  Do the math and you’ll discover that cooperating with other businesses in town to support your public library can be a cost-saving solution for having access to Lynda.com for your entire community. (And that’s one small example of  the ways libraries can be a great resource for your business.)

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