Australians everywhere will benefit from a new library consortium called Electronic Resources Australia (ERA). The recently formed consortium offers libraries an opportunity to provide free public access to quality online information in the areas of health, general reference, news and business. The true value of the consortium will be realised with widespread Australian library participation.

The consortium is a response to recommendation 9 of the 2003 Senate report on Libraries in the Online Environment that highlighted the public need to have greater and coordinated access to full text electronic resources.

Following the Senate report Australian libraries identified the areas of greatest information need. This led to the panel of products offered today through ERA.

Jan Fullerton AO, Director-General National Library said in this information-driven world ERA will help position Australian libraries to better support communities, education and business.

“The collaborative purchasing power of ERA will enable a greater number of Australian libraries to afford subscriptions to quality information for the direct benefit of their clients.  This means more opportunities for more people as more libraries take up the ERA offer,” said Ms Fullerton.

Roxanne Missingham, President of Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and Chair, ERA Executive Committee said the consortium will enable libraries to subscribe to an excellent panel of products and provide free access to their clients.

“Anyone who is a member of an Australian library that subscribes to one or more of the nine products on the panel will be able to access the content for free at their chosen location,” she said.

It is anticipated that the first library subscriptions with EBSCO Publishing, Forward Learning Pty Ltd (World Book), Oxford University Press, ProQuest-CSA and Thomson Gale will commence in October 2007.

Media contacts: Yvonne Kennedy, Tel: 02 6262 1353; 0411 753 891;

Susan Grigson, Communications and Marketing Coordinator, Tel: 02 6262 1571; 0410 627 684;