ProQuest Co., a leading publisher of information solutions for libraries and schools, has acquired SIRS Publishing, the highly respected publisher of the SIRS Researcher, SIRS Discover, and SIRS Enduring Issues databases, among others.

The deal, announced over the summer, is the latest in a series of acquisitions for ProQuest, which earlier this year acquired K-12 digital resources provider bigchalk of New York.

With headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., SIRS provides online, CD-ROM, and print reference databases to more than 50,000 libraries and school systems worldwide. SIRS is an acronym for Social Issues Resource Series, and its proprietary published products have been designed to address curriculum-related, assignment-driven information needs that arise as students study social problems, controversies, legal issues, and ethics.

“I am proud to welcome SIRS to the ProQuest family. SIRS was one of the few remaining independent electronic library publishers, and we had been in contact with the company for a number of years seeking ways we could work together. I am pleased that we made this important acquisition,” said Alan Aldworth, president and chief executive of ProQuest. “SIRS’s products will complement our existing product offerings and will be a key part of our platform for growth of our line of proprietary published products.”

ProQuest was formed when information solutions provider Bell & Howell acquired UMI in 1985. UMI is now known as ProQuest’s Information and Learning division. The company’s acquisition of SIRS is expected to be slightly accretive by year’s end and modestly profitable in fiscal year 2003.