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Performance at a glance

State Library Access statistics

Physical Amount
Onsite visitors 309,815 [*]
Visitors to major exhibitions 98,375
English Language Classes (attendees) 3,561
Education Programs (attendees) 2,642
Tours of the State Library (attendees) 289
Other events and programs (attendees) 1,290
Virtual/Online Amount
Website/Digital Collection 1,350,150
TROVE – SA Newspapers 5,456,083
Other online and Social Media
Digital Collection storage terabytes 155

*A reduced number of onsite visitors due to COVID-19 restrictions and building closure from 25 March to 9 June 2020

Key achievements this year include

  • Procurement of the Preservica digital preservation system, to enable the long-term care of born-digital and digitised collection material.
  • Extension of the SA public library network wireless network within the State Library premises to provide a cost-effective and familiar free wireless network service to customers and visitors.
  • Procurement and building commencement of a Preservation Cold Store Facility for high risk audio-visual collection material at the State Library’s offsite Netley storage facility.
  • Successful first time management and hosting of the 2020 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature.
  • Transition of workforce to work from home arrangements during COVID-19 emergency.
  • Implementation of Microsoft Teams to support modern workforce communications processes.

Public Library Services

Physical Amount
Loans 10,856,916
Holds 1,962,694
Purchases 229,552
Digital Amount
eBook loans 1,332,903
Purchases 38,705
Holds 593,990
eMagazines and eNewspapers loans 3,377,788
Genealogy 532,864
English Language Test training 3,079
Online Learning hours 12,268
Public Libraries App Amount
Libraries SA App downloads 226,059
Libraries SA App launches (use) 1,245,587
Libraries SAApp new devices 40,310
ICT Services and Internet Amount
Helpdesk calls 7,513
Internet volume per day Terabytes 10.13
Social Media Audience 74,451

Key achievements this year include

  • Free public internet access was provided to 465,000 unique devices in public libraries throughout the state.
  • Provision of wireless access continues to grow state-wide with 180 Wi-Fi access points now in public libraries.
  • 17 metropolitan libraries now connected to the SABRENet optical fibre network.
  • 133 new PCs and 45 new multifunction printers were deployed to all 42 school community libraries and some country libraries, with remote management capability.
  • Over 11 million items were loaned (physical and digital) across the network and nearly 2 million holds were delivered to the customer’s preferred pickup library.
  • 420,000 new items were purchased in different collections throughout the state.
  • Over 4,900 people join public libraries each month.
  • 30% of the South Australian community are active members.
  • PLS Project Officer, Sharmayne Coso, won the DPC Employee Recognition Award in November 2019 for the category ‘Supporting our Communities’ for her work in coordinating the Tech Savvy Seniors Program. Supporting 17 libraries to deliver 543 digital literacy programs to over 2250 participants in regional South Australia.
  • PLS facilitated and delivered over 20 training and development sessions for library staff and managers in the public library network. Emphasis was made on upskilling staff to deliver programs online during COVID-19 restrictions. Over 380 staff attended sessions.

Agency contribution to whole of Government objectives

State Library

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Library and Information Management Program

The State Library’s formal involvement in the teaching of library and information professionals through an industry partnership with the University of South Australia was maintained during the year.

The State Library staff contribute to the design of curricula, undertake teaching and assessments for five major courses within the Library and Information Management program.

State Library

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Library Graduates in the State Library Customer Contact team

As part of a succession plan two graduate PO1 Librarian positions have been created in the Customer Contact team.

State Library

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North Terrace Cultural Precinct Innovation Lab

The Library co-ordinated the implementation of the North Terrace Cultural Precinct Innovation Lab which was renamed Collab and launched 4 March 2020 along with a Fellowship.

The Collab Fellowship establishes an opportunity for people working in the creative technologies, digital art and digital humanities to develop innovative new ways for audiences to discover and experience South Australia’s stories through the North Terrace Cultural Precinct’s significant digital collection holdings.

Collab is a collaboration between the State Library of South Australia, History Trust, Art Gallery of South Australia and the South Australian Museum.

State Library

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Children’s Literature Research Collection cataloguing project

The Library has contracted a South Australian library services supplier to expedite the cataloguing of the Children’s Literature Research Collection, one of the premier heritage research collections of its kind in Australia.

The outcome of this contract will be increased access to this valuable collection.

State Library

Lower costs

Transition to digitising South Australian newspapers

The Library holds a copy of every South Australian newspaper published since 1836 and, beginning in 1960, has microfilmed 74% of the issues to date.

The in-house microfilm production facility was decommissioned this year and replaced by preservation-standard overhead scanners which ensued the digitisation of major SA newspaper titles The Advertiser and Sunday Mail commencing in January 2020.

Investment in the transition brings savings in consumables, equipment maintenance, newspaper preparation and processing time.

The Library’s store of microfilm masters will continue to serve a preservation role as well as providing a cost-effective basis for digitising the content of historic newspapers for online, word-searchable delivery.

Public Library Services

Lower Costs

NBN and Equipment

All libraries were transitioned to NBN Telstra Business Broadband Services or to SABRENet dark fibre.

This has significantly reduced the cost of internet services to the Network and increased performance.

Review arrangements for provision of internet service.

PLS has now implemented its new AARNet internet gateway for all SABRENet sites.

This provides a 10Gbps internet connection for public internet use in libraries, meaning a 20x performance increase and a significant cost reduction.

State Library

Better Services

Cold Storage Facility

To preserve at risk audio visual (AV) material the Libraries Board has funded the construction of a cold store.

The cold store will hold a range of valuable obsolete audio visual material that is at high risk of failure if stored at ‘normal’ ambient room temperatures.

When completed in late 2020, this facility will provide preservation storage of the most at-risk material within the State Library’s collections, resulting in substantial increases in their longevity and access to unique audio and visual state heritage for future generations.

The cold store will be the first built in South Australia for preserving AV collections.

State Library

Better Services

Strategies to transition learning programs to online during Covid-19

The State Library’s Education Service have invested time during the COVID-19 closure to review the service and redesign learning programs to accommodate changes in staffingand develop a research informedFramework for Quality Learning at SLSAthat guides development, implementation and evaluation.

Anewlearning program called COVID-19 Through Young Eyeswas created.

It invites children and young peopleto creativelyreflect on their experiences of COVID-19 and add their under-represented voices to the state’s collection of stories, captured by the State Library of South Australia.

State Library

Better Services

Library Café

The new refurbished Library Caféreopened in November 2019 with a new service provider.

Public Library Services

Better Services

Public Library Wireless Internet

A new replacement wireless network was deployed to nearly all metro and country libraries which is simpler to use and eliminates barriers to entry for this key library service.

Agency specific objectives and performance

State Library objectives



Cold Storage

Procurement completed

Project commenced

Scheduled completion was due July 2020 but has been delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions and delayed arrival of overseas deliveries of major plant for the facility

Jan 2020

March 2020

Digital Preservation

Procurement completed

Contract executed

Training and implementation commenced

March 2020

March 2020

April 2020

State Library Brand Strategy

The following process occurred to guide and strengthen brand purpose and positioning of the library.

Meld Future Service Model – establishment of future service and facility options

Vox Pop video survey – provided a snapshot of State Library public perception

New Focus Research –comprehensive research into perceptions, wants and needs of both members and non-members of the SLSA.

Nation Advertising – Project to undertake Brand DNA, Brand strategy, Values, Service Pillars and Brand Manifesto for SLSA.


Sept 2019

Sept 2019

Nov 2019

Feb 2020

Public Library Services objectives



PLS - Service delivery to South Australia’s Indigenous Communities

Establishing and nurturing connections with and providing Indigenous communities with access to learning resources and tools for ongoing education and literacy development.

  • Provided the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) with funding to continue to deliver three core literacy-based programs: Book Supply; Book Buzz; and Community Literacy to South Australian Indigenous communities.
  • Kaltjiti Community Library commenced a pilot project to deliver a Community Library in Kaltjiti (Fregon) Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands.

The pilot project involves PLS working with the group’s Administrative Support Officer and the local Community Council to establish a model for the operation of a library.
The model will be implemented over a 2-year period and assessed to determine its long-term sustainability and potential for replication in the other APY communities.

The project will re-commence when restrictions to the APY lands are lifted.

ILF 3 year grant completed June 2020

Due for delivery March 2020 but delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions

PLS - Develop content and collections

Keeping collections updated and current and providing Shelf Ready Services to 20 libraries, and increased access to digital resources during COVID-19 restrictions

  • Collection improvements through planned projects
  • Age of Collection project
    Data-driven weeding projects to reduce older print material and keep this collection current and relevant.
  • Shelf Ready Services (SRS)
    The move from a trial into an operational service for shelf ready items from supplier to library has been implemented, reducing time and effort into making books available for the community.
  • Increase in service and usage of digital resources
    Ongoing increase in usage of digital resources, particularly through the COVID-19 closures, has seen loans surge in collections such as the Quarantini Collection, Footy’s Back, and Conversations on Race, Racism & Resistance.



Age of Collection in progress - to be completed Dec 2020

Shelf Ready Services – fully implemented to 20 libraries

PLS - Easy and fast discovery and delivery of physical and digital content

Continued the rebuild of 121 library Enterprise websites

Continued provision of an updated website environment that includes user interface with modern mobile devices for ease in discovering library collections.

This is a large project and is the first major rebuild and refresh of these websites since 2013.

In progress – to be completed Dec 2020

PLS - Telstra/PLS Tech Savvy Seniors Program

Tech Savvy Senior Program

Partnered community programs provide participants with resources and tools to upskill, embrace new technologies and develop their use of modern devices for accessing important services and conducting social and personal business.

The Telstra/PLS partnership embarked on the Tech Savvy Seniors SA program during 2019/2020.

17 Regional libraries delivered 351 sessions of the program enabling 1,323 senior participants the opportunity to develop the skills and confidence to use technology for socialising, accessing important services or conducting personal business.

Delivered until March 2020 – suspended due to COVID-19

PLS - Digital Springboard courses

Digital Springboard Courses
Digital Springboard is a program by Infoxchange and Google to help people learn digital skills and grow the capability they need to thrive in work and life.

PLS continued to partner with Infoxchange in 2019/2020 by providing Library staff the opportunity to attend train the trainer sessions and deliver the program to their own communities.

Thirteen libraries delivered a total of 99 courses, reaching 420 participants.

Delivered during 2019/20

PLS - Program partnerships

Public Library Services continues to seek and nurture existing partnerships to achieve scale and greater impact by aligning library services with State and Local Government goals.

Wellbeing SA
Wellbeing SA’s new campaign and website Open Your World was launched in April 2020

This is the start of a whole of government response, led by the Environment Minister David Speirs and Wellbeing SA, to support the Wellbeing of South Australians during COVID-19.

PLS worked with Wellbeing SA to have links to Libraries SA on the website relevant to the topic

Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth
PLS commenced working with the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, along with representatives from Federal, State and Territory government departments on a National Early Language and Literacy Strategy.

Smith Family
PLS partnered with the Smith Family to deliver the Maths Fun in Libraries program.

Library network staff are trained to deliver play-based maths sessions for parents and their 3 to 5 year old children.

The sessions encourage the parent and child to discover how simple maths concepts can be, through activities utilising everyday objects and play.

It is anticipated that the delivery of the program will commence to communities when COVID-19 restrictions permit face to face delivery.

Inspiring South Australia and The Children’s Discovery Museum
The Little Bang Discovery Club STEM program is a partnership between Inspiring South Australia and the Children’s Discovery Museum.

It was established in 2016 and continues to run successfully in SA public libraries.

The program focuses on enquiry-based play using the natural curiosity of children to develop skills, knowledge and confidence in exploring and explaining the world.

Over 230 public library staff have been trained to deliver the programs to pre-schoolers and their adult caregivers.

Office for Ageing Well
The Office for Ageing Well continued to provide grant funding to support the delivery of the Tech Savvy Seniors program for older regional South Australians.

PLS and network staff participated in workshops culminating in the Age Friendly Customer Service Guidelines which will be used by library network staff in their delivery of services to older community members.

























State Library’s Strategic Plan:


Archival Acquisitions

The State Library added 47 linear metres of new archival material (manuscript, pictorial, audio-visual, sound and oral history) and processed 29 metres of physical collection material plus 11 GB of digital content.

Notable additions to our collections include:

  • The Scott Hicks archive - an extraordinary record of the life and work of one of our most important Australian filmmakers.

This personal archive documents the South Australian’s film-making career and practice, and includes original scripts and script development, shooting scripts and story boards of films, plus original film footage and artefacts, from 1972 to 2017.

  • Two handwritten diaries kept by Lieutenant G. Dulfer from 1917-1920 on Timor, Java.

Includes his account of the stopover of the Vickers Vimy G-EAOU on the first long-distance flight from England to Australia, with signatures from Keith and Ross Smith and crew.

  • A 1919 letter from Ross Smith to Annie Wood, written three days before departing on the England-Australia flight.
  • The COVID-19 social distancing experience - photographs taken by professional photographers and community contributors.
  • Black Lives Matter 2020 protest - photographs captured by participant photographers.
  • Adelaide Climate Strike podcast, which was the first podcast of its kind produced by the Library.

Published Acquisitions

The State Library added 7,669 titles to its collections:

  • Legal Deposit (through National edeposit (NED)): 1,164
  • Other South Australian material: 3,764
  • General Reference: 2,739

Access to 39 databases, comprising 38,199 electronic titles was provided though the Library catalogue.

The majority of this material is available remotely to individuals registered with the State Library.

Notable additions to the State Library Published Collection’s include:

  • Collection of 90 + children’s books donated by former State Library Rare Books Librarian Valmai Hankel – many were review copies sent to her late husband and colleague Dennis Hall, a children’s book reviewer with Australian Book Review during the 1960s-1980s.
  • Early 19th century French children’s card game, Geographie which references the (then) recent American Revolution and Tasmanian convicts
  • ‘Together soon enough’ – an art poster by SA street artist Peter Drew expressing the social effects of COVID-19
  • Collection of free community safety posters produced and distributed by Openbook Howden in response to the COVID-19 crisis
  • 19th century Persian manuscript leaf with gold decoration and painting of horsemen, with text of classical poetry currently being translated by Library staff member Monireh Ziaei. (Purchased from the Hutchison Bequest.)
  • Animoz: the fight for survival – locally produced Australian endangered species children’s card game
  • Before the Clearing – a hand-coloured lithographic art book by artist Simon Normand depicting the effects of the 1845 Ludwig Leichardt expedition, created in consultation with the descendants of the original Aboriginal peoples of the Gulf Country and Kakadu. (Purchased from the Pengilly Bequest.)
  • Relation des voyages enterpris par ordre de sa majeste britannique 1774 French translation of the work by John Hawksworth and Joseph Banks describing Captain James Cook’s expedition. (Purchased from the McGuire Bequest.)

The State Library’s ongoing commitment to grow and cultivate its collections by collecting, maintaining and preserving South Australian heritage to facilitate knowledge for past, current and future generations.

State Library’s Strategic Plan:



The State Library continues to digitise its collections and where possible increase online delivery.

The main digitising categories for 2019-20 are:

  • Digital Imaging (photographs/images): 40,224 (an increase of 9.38%)
  • Sound recordings: 1,525 (a decrease of 65.4% due to our Oral History program closure in February because of COVID-19 social distancing restrictions (interviewees mainly fall in the high risk category).
  • Films and videos: 1,031 (an increase of 0.29%)
  • Pages (published and archival collections): 30,233 (a decrease of 7.07%)

This year’s digitisation activity has increased the library’s digital collection storage to 155 terabytes (an increase of 18.9% from the previous year).

The State Library is a state centre of excellence for digitisation of library material to preservation standards.

This will ensure that deteriorating collections will survive beyond their life expectancy and allow future access of South Australian cultural and heritage material locally and globally.

It supports the Arts Plan’s Digital Access Plan for cultural collections.

State Library’s Strategic Plan:


The State Library continues to successfully deliver its digital collections using a range of online platforms.

Indicators of access:

State Library Website/digital collections: 1,350,150 (11.58% decrease)

This decrease is due to statistics capture interruption for several months as a result of server changes and web traffic redirect activities.

  • Facebook:10,559 (8.53% increase)
  • Twitter: 6,865 (3.83% increase)
  • YouTube: 1,330 (19.82% increase)
  • Instagram: 1,969 (34.86% increase)
  • Historypin: 4,952 (12 % decrease)
  • Pinterest: 529 (4.55% increase)

TROVE (SA Newspaper views): 5,456,083 ( 0.9% increase)

Unlimited access to State Library online digital collections to both local and global online visitors

State Library’s Strategic Plan:


Public Wi-Fi services

  • Expansion of OneCard Wi-Fi network to SLSA buildings

Reduction in costs while providing a more efficient Wi-Fi service to customers

State Library’s Strategic Plan:


Hub and Customer Technologies

  • Planning and procurement for upgraded services in Hub-Completed
  • Re-opening scheduled for July 2020

Providing better onsite services for customers

State Library’s Strategic Plan:



Impact of COVID-19

While the closure of the State Library’s building to the public due to COVID-19 resulted in a decrease in physical attendances across the range of services and programs, visitation to our various online platforms increased by 37.5%.


State Library had 309,815 onsite visitor (a decrease of 35.8%)

Primary, Secondary and Tertiary curriculum-based education programs: 2,642 students (a decrease of 53%)

Live and Learn adult programs: 1,241 participants (an increase of 536%)

English language conversation classes and individual tutoring: 3,561 participants (a decrease of 28.3%)

Tours of the State Library buildings: 289 participants (a decrease of 97% - numbers low due to COVID-19 closure and restrictions)

The State Library lent 28 collection items to institutions locally and interstate.

There were 18,361 visitors to the State Library Bradman Collection at the Adelaide Oval. (decrease of 38.5% due to closure to public from mid-March because of COVID-19 restrictions)


The State Library responded to 3,173 research enquiries through the ‘Ask Us’ service (an increase of 8.37%)

Providing and maintaining quality access to library services and collections at all times, even during unprecedented pandemic conditions

State Library’s Strategic Plan:



The State Library held three major exhibitions during the year.

Heroes of the Skies – The Smith Brothers and the Great Air Race 1919

(1 November 2019 – 2 August 2020)

Officially opened by Dr Andy Thomas, AO on 31 October 2019.

The exhibition was a key component of the Epic Flight Centenary 2019.

It told the story of the 1919 England to Australia air race won by South Australians, Captain Ross and Lieutenant Keith Smith, in a modified Vickers Vimy bomber.

This very successful exhibition brought to life the excitement of the race and its aftermath through the State Library collections including Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith's archives, as well as items sourced from other libraries, museums, and private collections.

As well as forming part of the physical display, the Smith Brothers’ archives has been digitised to provide global access of the collection for further exploration about the brothers and their extraordinary achievement.

65,916 attended the exhibition, education programs and public events.

Phil Cummings: Stories behind the books
(18 April to 29 September 2019)

Phil Cummings is an award-winning South Australian author, with a career spanning 30 years and more than 80 publications

This project provided the State Library with a unique opportunity to obtain, curate and exhibit never before seen original manuscripts, storylines and illustrations from Phil Cummings’ personal collection.

These items are now part of the Library’s collection.

29,040 attended the exhibition, education programs and public events

Without Consent – Australia’s past adoption practices
(7 February – 1 November 2020)

The State Library partnered with the National Archives of Australia (NAA) to host this important exhibition in South Australia.

It was developed by the NAA following former Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s national apology to those affected by forced adoptions.

It is estimated that 250,000 Australians were affected by these policies and practices, with most adoptions occurring between 1950 and 1975.

The exhibition is a tribute to the courage and generosity of those who volunteered to share their experiences and, in doing so, exposed a dark period in Australia’s history and previously hidden past.

3,419 attended the exhibition (up to 30 June)

Guided exploration of the South Australian story through our collections and programs, often in partnership with others, provides the community an opportunity to engage in and discover their state heritage.

Corporate performance summary

In 2019-2020 there was a significant increase in support needed to deal with library closures due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Library services closure commenced from 25 March 2020 until re-opening with limited services on 9 June 2020.

During this time State Library and Public Library Services teams worked from home, supporting public customers and the public library network.

As well as undertaking collection improvements, maintaining regular services and developing new online library services, a number of work from home projects were established to ensure meaningful library operation.

These projects were chosen from work that staff ordinarily did not have time to undertake in regular times and have served to enhance library collections.

Work from home projects included

Geo-coding of Photographs, TROVE newspaper text correction, Creating and adding tags to Oral History transcriptions, adding tags to photos and pins in digital collections and collection and cataloguing of material for State Library’s pop up online exhibition Remember My Story – COVID-19.

Employment opportunity programs


Agency performance management and development systems

Performance management and development system


The Department of the Premier and Cabinet’s performance Development Planning was in place throughout the year

Documented review of individual performance management:

Within the past 6 months: 92.6% of the workforce had undertaken individual performance management

No review: 9.6% of the workforce

Work health, safety and return to work programs

Program name


Flu Vaccination

43% of staff participated in the Flu Vaccination program

Mental Health First Aid

2% staff attended training

WHS and IM Management System

Developed and maintained by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and reported on centrally

WHS and IM Training

94.5% of State Library employees and 93% of Public Library Services employees have completed all of the WHS iLearn online training modules.

Ergonomic Assessments

95% of State Library employees and 77% of Public Library Services employees completed Ergonomic and Hazard Management assessment

Self-audit program

Was scheduled for March/April 2020 and is now rescheduled to September 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions and closures

Workplace injury claims

Current year

Past year


% Change
(+ / -)

Total new workplace injury claims








Seriously injured workers*




Significant injuries (where lost time exceeds a working week, expressed as frequency rate per 1000 FTE)




*number of claimants assessed during the reporting period as having a whole person impairment of 30% or more under the Return to Work Act 2014 (Part 2 Division 5)

Work health and safety regulations

Current year 2019-20

Past year


% Change
(+ / -)

Number of notifiable incidents (Work Health and Safety Act 2012, Part 3)




Number of provisional improvement, improvement and prohibition notices (Work Health and Safety Act 2012 Sections 90, 191 and 195)




Return to work costs**

Current year 2019-20

Past year


% Change
(+ / -)

Total gross workers compensation expenditure ($)




Income support payments – gross ($)




**before third party recovery
View data for previous years

Executive employment in the agency

Executive classification

Number of executives



View data for previous years

The Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment has a workforce information page that provides further information on the breakdown of executive gender, salary, and tenure by agency.