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This year has been one of maintaining our high-profile digital connections which grew in the depths of COVID, while also returning to our face-to-face services across the library network. Our digital collections in public libraries generated 2,504,392 loans along with over 10 million physical loans, while our State Library’s digital collections and research guides were accessed over 500,000 times during the year. This online access was complemented by the strongest physical visitation numbers to the State Library since 2019. While our visits have not returned to pre-Covid levels, we continue to provide services that are well used by our communities.

Along with the usual work that generates such performance statistics, the Libraries Board has been busy on a few fronts. These include:

  • The release of a new vision statement for the State Library, Future Directions – Towards 2030, which charts the course of the State Library for the next seven years.
  • The development of an Aboriginal Reference Group – in partnership with State Records of SA. This group is providing advice on both organisations’ collection management and customer access practices and policies.
  • Hosting visits to the Library by Adnyamathanha elders from Nepabunna and Warlpiri elders from Yuendumu, enabling access to collections and advice about their significance and value to communities.
  • Continuing to both grow the Library’s archive. This includes additions to the D Darian Smith photographic archive, a video oral history with Uncle Lewis O’Brien, material from the state and federal elections and the Joyce Batty papers.
  • Digitising significant collections including the first significant “Hundreds” maps of South Australia, and over 10,000 sketches, photos and other artworks from the Joseph Stanislaus (Stan) Ostoja-Kotkowski collection
  • Mounting two major exhibitions which attracted over 68,000 people. These were Lust for Lifestyle – mid-century modern architecture in Adelaide, and the George French Angas 1844 hand-coloured lithographs.
  • Participating in Illuminate, with Library of Light – an immersive laser and sound work by acclaimed artist Robin Fox, and Kaylene TV, a collaboration between APY lands indigenous artist Kaylene Whiskey and animator Jackson Lee
  • The Libraries Board provided funding to the South Australian Public Library Network to participate in the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) CORE Cultural Competency Training (1.3.2). 130 library staff are participating in the initial batch of learners, with completion estimated to take six months.
  • The Libraries Board Innovation Fund is an initiative to inspire the South Australian Public Library Network (SAPLN) to explore and create a future where libraries will continue to be vital community hubs for the communities they serve. The Innovation Fund supports projects developed in partnership with local governments to better utilise their public libraries in addressing local needs and providing new library services with lasting benefits to their communities.
  • In June 2022, the development of a Performance Framework for the South Australian Public Library Network concluded. The Framework is using an outcomes-based approach to develop meaningful measures that will allow the Network to better prioritise effort, funding, and projects to deliver value for our communities.
  • The Libraries Board commenced an ambitious local and family history project, South Australia’s Memories, to link local history collections held by public libraries to the collections of the State Library. The project’s focus is to determine and implement a locally developed and culturally appropriate model for equitable and open digital access to South Australian cultural heritage and genealogy resources.

Bruce Linn AM
Libraries Board of South Australia



2020-21 Annual Report | From the Chair Overview: About the agency | The agency's performance | Financial performance | Risk Management | Reporting required under other acts or regulationsPublic complaints