Every public school in Illinois now can get Encyclopaedia Britannica’s online reference and education service free of charge, thanks to a grant from the Illinois State Board of Education.

The new program, announced Dec. 18, provides subscriptions for Britannica Online School Edition to all Illinois public schools in grades K-12.

The web-based service features a suite of reference works—including the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Britannica Student Encyclopedia, and Britannica Elementary Encyclopedia—as well as periodicals, an internet guide, and a variety of classroom learning materials. Schools can use it in classrooms, libraries, computer labs, and anywhere else they have internet access.

The company said it is setting up Illinois schools on a district-by- district basis and urged those interested to call their district administrators. District administrators and technology coordinators should call (800) 621-3900 or send eMail to productinquiries@eb.com.

The statewide subscription was made possible in part by Britannica’s consortium-pricing program, which allows states and other groups of schools to realize significant savings from the prices they’d pay by subscribing individually.

Britannica Online School Edition was introduced last spring and already is available to more than nine million students in the United States, the company said.

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