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The State Library has sole responsibility for preserving access to a large proportion of the South Australian historical record for present and future generations. Under Legal Deposit legislation, first instituted in 1878, the State Library receives one copy of every South Australian publication, irrespective of format. 

Since the early 1900s, the State Library has also been entrusted with the archival records of thousands of businesses, organisations and individuals; hundreds of thousands of photographs; and unique audiovisual and electronic material including film footage and oral histories. 

Predating its South Australiana responsibilities is the State Library’s role as a general reference library. Over time parts of the reference collection have grown in significance to warrant long-term preservation. Other significant non-South Australiana material has been acquired for posterity. 

The State Library’s collections are intended to be accessible to the public, both physically onsite and digitally online. All the collections are described in the online catalogue and most are available for viewing upon request and a small but increasing proportion are available online. A large proportion of the general reference collection is also available through Inter-Library Loan services and the Lending Policy. The State Library’s preservation activities guarantee access to all these collections.

Conservation programs and services

ArtLab Australia

Artlab Australia has a team of qualified conservators who provide specialised preservation and conservation services for works of art and historic items.

Donate to the state's collections

Noel Coward at the Koala Farm [B 61595]

Donate to our collections

We encourage members of the community, organisations, and businesses to consider donating material for appraisal, especially South Australiana, to increase the depth and range of the library's collections.

Legal Deposit, image of the Institute Building [B/58655]

Legal Deposit

Legal deposit is a statutory provision that requires publishers to lodge copies of their publications with designated libraries. Many of the great libraries of the world, including the Library of Congress and the British Library, are repositories for legal deposit publications.

Archives Department, building interior featuring George Henry Pitt, 1938 [B/10196]

State Records of South Australia

State Records is the official custodian for archival records created by State and Local Government agencies within South Australia.