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How do I access collection material?

While some material is available on open shelves much of the material is held in storage, and special collections and archival material is accessible via the Somerville Reading Room. Material which is kept in State Library storage areas can be retrieved so it is available on your arrival at North Terrace.

To organise access to the material you will need to find the item in the State Library's catalogue. If the material you wish to view has a 'Request' button, you can fill in the form and submit the request online if you have a State Library of SA card. Please indicate when you are coming to view the material, as it is only kept on hold for 3 days after the request has been placed. If you do not have a State Library card, requests for storage items can be made over the phone during opening hours.

Most archival material has an “Ask at desk” status and has to be requested by staff. This can be done in person at the Information desk, or by phone.

All requests for material held offsite are retrieved on Mondays and Thursdays (except on public holidays). The items are then available for viewing after 1pm on these days.

No items are retrieved from storage on weekends. View more about the retrieval service.

How do I use the catalogue?

We have created a couple of guides to help you to search the library's catalogue:

How does the State Library decide what to collect?

The State Library has a primary role of collecting, preserving and providing access to the story of South Australia through published and unpublished texts, images, audiovisual and other information media.

We have a Collection Policy that describes the State Library’s collection policy as it has evolved to meet the challenges of changed client expectations and altered patterns of collection use resulting from the information revolution brought about by the internet.

Digital preservation and the collection

The State Library aims to preserve the integrity and authenticity of our digital objects to ensure access for current and future generations. The Digital Preservation Policy describes how the State Library is digitally preserving the collection.

Why can't I borrow books from the State Library?

We are a preservation library, which means materials and equipment can be used within the library but are not available for loan, however, we are progressively expanding access to our collections online

For more information view our Lending Policy

How do I know that I am following copyright?

The State Library has copyright signage located near all printing facilities. When in doubt, please ask one of our librarians at the Information Desk, or submit a question via Ask Us.

Find out more about copyright and our collection.

Does the library have special conditions of use for Indigenous collections?

Yes, we endorse the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols for Libraries, Archives and Information Services. We also have a Digital Repatriation Policy and have Conditions of Use that customers are required to follow when using our Indigenous collections.

Read more about our Indigenous protocols, policy and usage.

How can I organise access to eResources from home?

Use of eResources is governed by licence agreements between the publishers and suppliers of eResources and the State Library of South Australia. View our Home Access to eResources conditions of use.