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Many of the library's books, ephemera, letters, diaries, photographs, menus, wine labels, toys and games were donated by members of the public. 

Why donate materials?

Donated material adds to the larger narrative of South Australia. If your donations are accepted they will be transferred to a relevant library collection. They will then be protected in a secure, climate-controlled environment, and described and catalogued for our website so that our holdings can be seen around the world.

The library collects published material, such as books, journals, games and pamphlets and non-published or archival material, such as private diaries and original photographs. For a comprehensive description of what the library collects see the Collection Development Policy

South Australian publishers are required to submit their material to the library under Legal Deposit requirements. Please see the page on Legal Deposit for further information. 

Donate a book or published material

The State Library welcomes relevant donation offers for books and other published material if it meets our collecting criteria. Please check the State Library catalogue first to see if the items are already held.

Please submit the form below with details of your offer, so that the library can assess your material. We aim to respond within 7-10 working days. Complex matters or large donation offers need consideration and may take longer. 

Submit a book or published donation offer

Please note and quote your query number when enquiring about your offer. 

Donating archival or unpublished material

Archival records are generated by individuals, families, societies or businesses in the course of everyday living, such as; paper documents, photographs, films, video or sound recordings, oral histories, maps, architectural plans, posters, parchment and computer disks.

We collect archival material of research value that is predominantly South Australian in content or is by or about South Australians.

As COVID-19 continues to challenge our operation and delivery of public services the State Library has responded decisively in the interests of both public and staff safety.

Donor visits have been temporarily suspended, but in the meantime you can make an enquiry by completing the following form:

Submit an archive or unpublished material donation offer

Want to donate a digital image?

Before you submit an offer, please read our specifications for digital image files.

Donating via the Cultural Gifts Program

The Cultural Gifts Program encourages gifts of significant cultural items to public art galleries, museums and libraries by offering donors a tax deduction for the market value of their gifts, under Subdivision 30-A of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997. Donations must be accompanied by at least two valuations of the current GST inclusive market value, provided by approved valuers.  Contact us to discuss this option, by completing the donations form and selecting Cultural Gifts Program in the dropdown options. 

Have a query?

Collection Development (Published)
Phone: (08) 8207 7250
Email: SLSA.Publishedcd@sa.gov.au

Collection Development (Archival)
Phone: (08) 8207 7250 
Submit an archive or unpublished material donation offer

Archival Material Frequently Asked Questions

I'm interested in donating records to the archives. Where do I start?

The first step is to check our Collection Development Policy and What We Collect, for information on what we do and don't collect. 

Contact the Collection Development Team using the donation offers form, and a staff member will get back in touch with you:
Online form: Archive or unpublished material donation offer

A collection offer submission should include biographical information about the person, family or organisation that created the records. 

Please fill in the form before bringing any material to the Library. If you can attach a list of photos of the material that is helpful. 

How is my offer appraised and what if it is accepted?

All offers of archival records are documented, assessed against the Collection Development Policy and discussed by the Appraisal Committee and a final decision is made to accept or decline the material. If the archival records are accepted the donor will be asked to complete and sign a Deed:

This document covers the permanent transfer of the records and any conditions the donor may have regarding access, copying and publication.

Collection Development staff will be able to help you complete the Deed and answer any of your questions.

How do I prepare my records for State Library appraisal?

If the record group is large, you may be asked to arrange and list items in a box list template.  Archival boxes may be provided for packing once a donor form has been received. 

A Box list template is available for download:

Box list template

This information will be used for the initial appraisal. If Collection Development staff appraise the records as suitable for the collection, they will discuss delivery options with you. 

Will the State Library take everything we offer?

Although we might not need everything that may be offered, we welcome the chance to review material. If it is not suitable for the State Library we may be able to suggest another archive or cultural institution to which it could be referred. 

How long before my collection is available to members of the public?

Once a record group has been accepted for the Archival Collection, it will be accessioned and made available to the public within a month, presuming there are no access restrictions. Requests to see the accessioned group can be made through the State Library catalogue.

All accessions are eventually fully arranged and described by professional archivists who prepare finding aids or guides which are made available online. The time it takes for this work to be done varies from group to group and depends on a number of factors including the physical condition of the records, formats, access restrictions and size of the collection.

What if I don't want people to see part of my archive right away?

The State Library recognises that sensitive material may, at times, be found within collections. Collection Development staff will discuss with the donor the possibility of restricting parts of a collection to protect the privacy of the donor or others. However, since our aim is to make records as accessible as possible to the public, we request a future date for releasing sensitive material be documented in the Deed.

Can I donate copies and keep my originals?

The State Library prefers to receive original material as a donation. Donors who wish to keep copies are encouraged to make them before donating the original. In the case of formats that are difficult to copy, contact Collection Development via the donation form to request the names of suitable commercial businesses.

The State Library will only consider borrowing material for digitising and returning the original if it is of exceptional significance to the history of South Australia.

What if some of my files are on computer disks or in electronic format?

The State Library is able accept all formats of records including electronic data and audio-visual material, as long as they meet our selection criteria. Consideration will need to be given to issues of long-term accessibility and preservation.

You can discuss non-standard formats with Collection Development staff and read the following Guidelines:

Why does the State Library want me to donate copyright?

The State Library encourages copyright holders (who may not always be the donor) to transfer copyright to the Libraries Board because it allows us to assist researchers in their work by making it easier to provide permission to use material in the collection. It also allows us to grant permission for use of the records in publications, documentaries, exhibitions or on the Library's website. However, donors are not required to transfer copyright as part of the donation process, and there is provision in the Deed of Gift to retain all or a portion of intellectual property rights.

Can you tell me how much papers are worth?

Financial appraisals of collections should only be done by qualified appraisers. Collection Development staff can assist donors by providing names and contact details of qualified manuscript appraisers if a professional appraisal seems desirable or necessary.

In certain circumstances it may be possible for a donor to claim a tax deduction for the donation of an archival collection to the State Library.

The Cultural Gifts Program encourages gifts of significant cultural items to public art galleries, museums and libraries by offering donors a tax deduction for the market value of their gifts, under Subdivision 30-A of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.

Donations must be accompanied by at least two valuations of the current GST inclusive market value, provided by approved valuers. To discuss making a donation to the State Library under the Cultural Gifts Program, please contact the Library using the donations form.

 

Does the State Library buy archival collections or materials?

From time to time the State Library will purchase archival records and photographs which have been made available through auction catalogues.

The library is unable to consider any private purchase unless there has been a fair and recent valuation.