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Reference collection


The State Library of South Australia is the largest public reference library in South Australia and our reference collections provide information, research and referral services for the community. Check out our newspapers, Library Guides, access our eResources, including eJournals and magazines, and much more.

What's inside

The Reference Collections can support significant historical research in most subject areas because of the strong collection of monographs from the 19th century onwards and the very long runs of many historic periodicals and newspapers.

Please note that our collections are not for loan and must be used on site. Some items can be sent to your local public library for use there,  ask at your public library.

You are welcome to print and photocopy, order copies and seek to permission to publish material for most of the State Library's collection, as long as it aligns with copyright and our collection.

The State Library aims to provide current texts sufficient to support some self-directed learning in all subject areas. We provide resources for most subject areas in either print or online periodical titles, sufficient to support senior secondary school studies and some undergraduate research. 

Australian subjects such as Australian History and Literature and the Australian component of other non-geographically specific subjects that support significant undergraduate and some postgraduate research, particularly for the Arts and Social Sciences.

Need help?

Ask Us, Roland Eime, librarian in charge of Youth Lending, assisting a customer [B 72589/3]

Ask Us

For all your research or reference queries our librarians are here to help you!

Using our collection materials, view of customers in the reading area.

Using our collection material

View our policies, procedures, conditions of use and frequently asked questions about using and accessing our collections. 

Youth Lending Service, circa 1970 [B 68890]

Join the State Library

Did you know that State Library membership is free? Being a State Library members provides you with greater access to the collection. Check out the benefits and sign up for a card today.

Plan your visit

How do I get to the State Library by public transport?

The 'State Library, Art Gallery, Museum' tram-stop is just outside the State Library. There are bus stops close by, near the War Memorial on North Terrace. The closest train station is the Adelaide city station on North Terrace.

You can plan your journey via Adelaide Metro.

Is there car parking near the State Library?

The nearest car park is Wilson's Adelaide Central car park, 225 North Terrace, next to David Jones.

There is paid (metered) street parking along Kintore Ave and Victoria Drive.

Where is the wheelchair and stroller access?

Access to the Spence Wing first floor and the Mortlock Chamber is via the lift in the glass foyer entrance of the library.

There is on-street disabled parking available on the nearby roads. View more information and maps of Adelaide City Council's Disability parking for permit holders.

How do I check if the Mortlock Chamber is open when I plan to visit?

The Mortlock Chamber may close for private events, check our opening hours for any closure times.

When it is open you can visit the Mortlock Chamber on the ground floor to look at the exhibition bays.  The upper levels of the Mortlock Wing include quiet study areas.

Is there a cafe at the State Library?

Yes, the State Library Cafe is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm and Saturdays from 12 to 4pm.

Find out more about the cafe and resident organisations at the State Library.