The State Library Wants You

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Posted 2016-09-04 by Dave Walshfollow

The State Library of South Australia is one of our best-loved cultural institutions. Every week thousands of people are drawn to the State Library in Adelaide, seeking knowledge, entertainment, help or even just a quiet refuge.

The staff are welcoming and polite, and all visitors are treated well irrespective of their appearance, cultural background, language or position. Unlike libraries of the past, quiet conversation and even music is acceptable and even encouraged. It's an inclusive environment which is a restful retreat from the bustle of Rundle Mall only a street away.

The Benefits of the State Library
Researchers are often drawn to the State Library for their rich collections relating to South Australian history - indeed I regularly use photographs from the library's massively diverse collection of imagery in my writing. Articles like Ten Adelaide Firsts in Pictures would not have been possible without using images from The State Library of SA, while others like Underground Bunkers and Tunnels in Adelaide drew on the library's wartime images.

For many people though, the library is a convenient place to study or find a book to read. Others come here for the free tours , an opportunity to see the spectacular beauty of the Mortlock Library, be entertained by tales of Crime and Punishment in Early Adelaide , to see the current exhibition A Few of Our Favourite Things, or to see curators conserving old books.

Non-English speakers are enthusiastic about the free English Language Learning Improvement Service (ELLIS), amateur genealogists are drawn to the Family History Service , while parts of the library's Bradman Collection are now on loan to the Cricketing Museum at Adelaide Oval .

In this digital age, you don't even have to visit the library to enjoy its services. A handy app for mobile devices provides a rich range of guided walking tours in Adelaide , while the varied Digital Collections from the State Library are always available online.

Activating Adelaide
Even after dark when library staff have long gone, the animated Story Wall outside the State Library continues to make the library a sought after Adelaide attraction with its colourful illuminations.

At a time when the State government and City of Adelaide are throwing money at initiatives to activate Adelaide, the State Library is quietly doing just that: keeping the city a vibrant place of culture and knowledge. While Renewal SA pay entrepreneurs to bring Adelaide alive with events like the Alpine Winter Village , our State Library does this every day of the week by default.

Too Good to Be True?
If all this seems too good to last, you may be right. The State government is now proposing massive budget cuts to the State Library which would see the loss of 20% of their staff. Under threat are the Family History Service, ELLIS service for non-English speakers, processing of SA Heritage items, Oral History services, and the very popular Ask Us service for the public to lodge quick enquiries.

The loss of support staff due to the proposed budget cuts could cause the library's current collection of 110,000 images to stagnate, with new images only added at a trickle, while map expertise would be completely lost.

What Can You Do?
The SA Public Service Association recently held a rally outside the library to protest the budget cuts, and raise public awareness of this short-sighted decision by the man who is currently trashing SA's health system, Jack Snelling. It was well attended and supported by many including SA Greens Tammy Franks and former Senator Robert Simms.

No other events are planned as yet, but there are two online petitions to petition the State government to stop the budget cuts. I urge you to sign either or both of these petitions to support the library continuing to provide its awesome free services, and remain a prime Adelaide attraction.

There is a petition on and also another on Gopetition .

Most people in South Australia have at one time benefited from the free services at the State Library of South Australia. Please show your support for their great work and sign the petitions to the State government!

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143175 - 2023-06-13 19:47:59


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