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The English Language Improvement Service (ELIS) supplements other English language and literacy programs within South Australia by providing self-help materials and opportunities to improve conversation.

Conversation groups

Conversation Groups are provided for small groups to practice spoken English and are facilitated by competent volunteer tutors who are happy to assist customers who want to learn English.

Tutors will:

  • familiarise users with the collection's independent learning resources and equipment by referring to the Information Desk staff
  • provide assistance with various aspects of the English language
  • assist with advice on pronunciation and understanding of Australian idiom
  • refer customers to other organisations as required.

How to join a group

  • arrive 10 minutes early
  • wait near Bray Room 1
  • please stay for the whole session
  • turn mobile devices off or to silent
  • leave the room if you need to answer a call - note you risk forfeiting your place in the session.

August 2019 Sessions

Day Time Desk tutor
Monday 3 to 4.40pm


Tuesday 10.15am to 12pm Indrani
Wednesday   1 to 2.30pm Angela
Thursday   4 to 5.30pm
Friday 3 to 4.30pm Grace

Desk Tutors

Desk tutors will:

  • provide one on one conversation practice
  • assist with correct pronunciation
  • assist with the selection of English learning resources from State Library collection.
  • assist with editing up to two pages of writing such as letters, journals or other work
  • give basic guidance on study and test-taking techniques.

About editing:

  • ELIS tutors will not edit secondary or undergraduate assignments before they have been handed up and graded by course tutors or teachers.
  • Prior to grading, tutors can look at two to three opening paragraphs only and advise on sentence construction, grammar and spelling. After grading they can discuss an assignment more fully but only up to a maximum length of two pages, depending on available time.

Make an appointment

  • To see a Desk Tutor you must first write your name in a time slot on the ELIS Desk Appointment Sheet. Each tutor will place her/his Appointment Sheet on the ELIS desk approximately five minutes before beginning their rostered desk time.
  • Appointments are made only in person when the tutor has arrived. Once all the numbered spaces have been filled on the Appointment Sheet, there are no more appointments with that tutor for that day. You may only make one appointment per day.

Sessions august 2019

Day Time Desk tutor
Monday 10.30am to 1pm Mary or Peter
  10.30am to 1pm Rosemary  *not here 19 and 26 August
  1 to 4pm

Sandra *not here 12 and 26 August

  1 to 4pm Meredith *not here 19 and 26 August
Tuesday 10.30am to 12.30pm Jennifer
  10.30am to 1pm Judy
  1 to 4pm Jennifer
  1 to 4pm Michelle
Wednesday 10.30am to 1pm Judith

10.30am to 1pm

No tutor
  5.30 to 7pm No tutor
Thursday 10.30am to 12.30pm Susie *not here 8, 15, 22 and 29 August
  10.30am to 12.30pm Rodger
  1.30 to 4pm Rodger
Friday 10.30am to 12.30pm Rodger
  10.30am to 1pm Bev
  1.30 to 4pm Rodger

"Road to IELTS" (International English Language Testing System)

This software program is available on computers named ELIS 1 and 2 located near the Information Desk.

  • Book an ELIS computer at the Information Desk.
  • You can book up to two hours.
  • Advanced bookings can be made for up to one day beforehand.

Other Resources

ELIS has a self-help collection consisting of books, audio cassette kits, CD-ROMs and Audio CDs. 

Many of the materials are labelled with coloured dots to make them easier for learners to find:

Blue dot equals Beginners ELLIS material

Green dot equals Intermediate ELLIS material

Yellow dot equals Advanced ELLIS material

  • ELIS materials are to be used inside the main library area.
  • Audio cassette players, CD, DVD, video players and special ELIS computers are available for you to use with the electronic materials.
  • Headphones are provided and these are cleaned after each use.

English language learning software programs on CD-ROM are available (such as Issues in English or Dingo Bingo) and loaded for use on the computers numbered ELIS 1 and 2.

  • Book an ELIS computer at the Information Desk and ask for the CD-ROM.
  • Headphones are attached to computers.
  • ELIS Tutors can help you to choose an appropriate computer program and level.

Book an ELIS Computer

  • To book an ELIS computer you need a State Library card. Don't have one? Join the State Library!
  • Book a computer by phone: (08) 8207 7250 or visit us.

Keep informed with our ELIS DESK and conversation group updates

Find more help

Mortlock Chamber, photo taken by Toby Woolley

Discover Your State Library

This program introduces learners to the State Library's services, resources and collections.

Show program
Find a public library in South Australia

Find a public library

Some public libraries in South Australia offer similar English language improvement services, so if you can't make it into the State Library, locate your nearest local library and see what they can offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Things to know about conversation groups

  • The conversation group tutor wears a red lanyard.
  • Conversations groups are mixed level.
  • There may be a different topic addressed each week.
  • There is a maximum of 19 participants per group.
  • These groups are not offered on weekends or public holidays.
  • Check the State Library of SA's facebook page to stay informed of any changes.

Things to know about desk tutors

  • Each appointment is for 25 minutes.
  • Desk tutors are not available on weekends or public holidays.
  • There are occasional late cancellations to tutor services due to circumstances beyond our control.
  • Check the State Library of SA's facebook page to stay informed of any changes.
  • If you arrive late, your appointment will still end at the time indicated on the Appointment Sheet. If you are more than ten minutes late, your appointment may be cancelled and the remaining time given to someone else.

What do I need to do before I meet with a desk tutor?

  • It is useful to plan what you would like to concentrate on with a Desk Tutor.
  • You might want to practise conversation, discuss a piece of writing or get help with studying.
  • If you would like to practise conversation, try to think of a topic you would like to discuss, such as interesting places to travel in Australia, or something you have read in a newspaper.
  • Another suggestion is to write down things that puzzle you and bring that to your session with the tutor to discuss.
  • If you would like to discuss a piece of your writing, it will be easier for a tutor to help you if you leave room for them to write on your work.
  • Use wide margins and double spacing so they can write comments. Remember that a tutor cannot help you with your assignments unless they have already been marked.
  • Tutors can also suggest resources in the library which are appropriate to your needs.