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We are interested not only in the records of public figures but also in records that show what ordinary individuals and families did in their daily lives. These personal stories reflect society's values and aspirations at a particular time in history. The types of materials below are often valuable, but these lists are incomplete and not definitive.

Private Record Groups

Personal and Family papers which include (but are not limited to):

  • letters and correspondence
  • photographs
  • home movies, films and videos
  • sound recordings
  • diaries, scrapbooks and journals.

Society Record Groups

Papers of Clubs, non-government schools and not-for-profit organisations which include (but are not limited to):

  • Meeting minutes
  • Constitution
  • Policies and procedures
  • Correspondence
  • Annual reports
  • Architectural plans, maps and records of property management
  • Records of financial assets
  • Photographs
  • Films, videos and sound recordings

Business Record Groups

Papers of South Australian businesses, both current and past, which include (but are not limited to):

  • Meeting minutes
  • Records relating to the formation of the business and governance papers
  • Correspondence
  • Annual reports
  • Architectural plans, maps and records of property management
  • Records of financial assets
  • Photographs
  • Employment records
  • Promotional material, press releases and in-house newsletters
  • Films, videos and sound recordings

For more information on the types of records we collect go to our Collection Policy.

Submit an archive or unpublished material donation offer

Donating specific collection types

Children's books, toys and games

The State Library has a Children's Literature Research Collection (CLRC) was established in 1959 as a research and reference library for the study of children's literature of the world, with particular emphasis on Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. To support this research function there is a collection of reference books and periodicals relating to the study of children's literature and child play. A number of games and toys enhance the collection. The Collection, which has over 65,000 items has been enhanced over the years by donations from the community. Donations of books, toys, games, children's magazines and comics, and other childhood ephemera will be considered if they strongly reflect the interests of South Australian children from the days of early settlement to the present day


Ephemera describes printed items which were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity. It includes posters, postcards, menus, invitations, flyers, political stickers, election material covering Federal, State, Local council and Referendums, theatre and festival programs and calendars.

Why keep ephemera? Because most people don't. It is "here today, gone tomorrow" material.

The State Library has a large ephemera collection which provides a visual and written record of South Australian society from 1836 to the present day. It provides an important record of social life, popular culture, beliefs and design styles. Sometimes the only information available about an organisation, an artist, a performance can be found in the Library's ephemera collection. Today's ephemera will be resource material for researchers of the future.

The Library does not collect objects such as flags, clothing; tickets; badges unless produced for elections, referendums or for a particular protest group or non-South Australian ephemera material.

No photocopies, originals only and these items must be in reasonable condition.

Oral histories

Oral history is the recording of memories of peoples' unique life experiences. It is an audio record of information gathered as the result of a planned interview and is a means of documenting the past by asking questions of people who have lived through a period or an event of interest. Through oral history, the past comes alive as people share their lives.

The JD Somerville Oral History Collection was established in 1987 as the central repository for unpublished oral history recordings and transcripts in South Australia. The collection is intended to provide an oral record of all aspects of the South Australian experience and particularly of those who are poorly represented in documentary records, such as low-income earners, people of non-English speaking background, women, and country people. The collection also provides a representative sample of the various uses of oral histories, such as academic, commissioned, local history, community arts, school and family history.

The State Library provides advice on designing and managing approved oral history projects and ongoing support once projects are underway. Oral History Australia SA/NT run one day introductory oral history workshops with support from the State Library. These workshops explain the stages involved in organising an interviewing program, conducting and recording interviews and developing documentation for the interviews such as summaries, conditions of use forms and transcripts.

How we aSSess materials

Offers will be assessed in relation to our Collection Development Policy, the physical condition of the items and our existing collection holdings.

If the State Library is unable to accept an item, we will try and suggest alternative placements. A receipt is issued for items left with the library for appraisal, with the option for them to be returned if not required.

Materials we usually don’t accept for donation

  • Photocopies of original publications. 
  • Materials that are in poor condition.
  • Materials that are already in the State Library's collection.
  • Materials that are more suitable for another collecting institution.

In some instances, we can help you find other organisations which may be interested in the material.