Educational Lending Right

Educational Lending Right (ELR) is an Australian cultural program administered by the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport.

SCIS manages the ELR school library survey on behalf of the Department. The ELR school library survey collects data in order to estimate the number of copies of specific titles held in Australian school libraries. These book counts are the basis for payments to Australian book creators and publishers. The payments are made on the basis that income is lost as a result of the availability of creators’ and publishers’ books in educational lending libraries and to support the enrichment of Australian culture by encouraging the growth and development of Australian writing and publishing.

Deborah Abela


Deborah Abela wrote:

I love encouraging students to
borrow from their school and public libraries,
particularly during the National Year of Reading.
ELR payments made in lieu of readers buying authors’
books go a long way to helping them keep writing.





School selection process

Each year, a representative sample of schools is invited to participate in the ELR school library survey. Schools must meet specified criteria based on school size, sector and location and the library automation system used.

Schools with less than 100 full-time enrolments are excluded, as it is concluded that if they have a library, it will be very small and not representative of Australian schools. All sectors and regions need to be represented: government, Catholic and independent, urban and rural schools. The other consideration is the library automation system used in the school.

Library system suitability

There are seven library automated system vendors whose products are currently able to generate a book count suitable for ELR calculations to be made. They are Bibliotech, Bookmark, Folletts’ Athena, Circ/Cat and Destiny, Libcode, OCLC’s Amlib, SirsiDynix’s Symphony and Softlink’s Alice, Oliver and Oasis.

Schools suitable to select

The total number of all Australian schools is approximately 9,473. There are approximately 2,300 schools with an enrolment of less than 100. That reduces the total number to approximately 7,173. Another reduction is the schools not using a suitable library automation system from one of the seven vendors. More than 600 schools Australia-wide are then selected each year and invited to take part in the survey.

Inviting some schools more than once

It is intended that each year a different sample of schools will be used. Now that the ELR survey has been operating for more than 10 years, it is possible for a school to be invited more than once to participate in the ELR survey. Last year 138 schools were invited for a second time and 19 were invited for a third time. We hope that schools that have participated previously will be familiar with the ease with which they can run the survey process and be happy to support Australian book creators and publishers by participating again.

Ruth Starke


 Ruth Starke wrote:

Very few writers in this
country make enough money from their
books to live on – even the ‘famous’ ones!
So when that ELR payment comes, it may
seem like a wonderfully generous present,
but it’s really compensation for the fact
that our books are in school libraries for
the free enjoyment of many readers.
And that’s fair.


Changes in schools data

When a school is invited multiple times to participate, their book data will be different to the data previously supplied. Within one year various activities can alter the book data. These include running a stocktake, deleting titles due to loss or damage and obtaining new titles from purchases or donations. Even if no change has occurred to the book stock, the data will still be suitable for the survey. The data from all schools – large or small, city or country, government or other – will be valuable to the statistical balance of the ELR survey results.

If your school is selected to participate in an ELR survey we hope you consider it an opportunity to support Australian book creators and publishers.

More information

More information about the ELR school library survey is available from   


Anthea Amos

SCIS Projects & Information Services Coordinator
Education Services Australia

ELR – Encouraging the growth of Australian writing and publishing