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Important - About your visit to the library

Information updated 4 August 2020

When will the library be open?

The State Library of South Australia is now open.

For now, the main reference library, Treasures Wall, Mortlock Chamber and Institute Building are open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm.

The Spence Wing entrance, the Hub and glass foyer (ground floor) are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm. Saturday, 10am to 4pm.

State Library Gallery is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 3.45pm.

The Library is currently closed Sunday and public holidays.

Will there be restrictions on the number of people allowed in the building?

From Monday 29 June, there are no mandated restrictions on the maximum number of people in our buildings.  However, we are required to observe the 1 person per 2 square metre ruling and so some limits will remain in place:

  • Spence Wing, level 1 - maximum of 100 people in a general study and computer area, with the following additions:
    • group study rooms - reduced capacity (maximum of 2 people in small rooms, and 7 in the large room)
    • Somerville Reading Room (SRR) maximum of 10 people, including customers visiting the National Archives research desk
  • State Library Gallery - maximum of 25 people
  • Treasures Wall - maximum of 25 people
  • Mortlock Chamber - maximum of 75 people
  • Mortlock Mezzanine  - maximum of 28 people.

Are there any restrictions on the time I can spend in the library?

Whilst time limits have been placed on some services to ensure equitable access, at this stage, there is no limit to the length of time you can stay in the library each day. We ask all customers to be mindful of services with reduced capacity at this time and to manage their visit accordingly.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO WHEN I ARRIVE AT THE BUILDING?

You can now gain entry to the Library through the:

  • glass foyer (one door only, exit only through the other)
  • Institute Building
  • Library Cafe.

When coming through any of these entrances please make sure you sanitise your hands at the sanitiser stations provided.

What do I do with my bag?

As the cloaking room is closed, a set of lockers will be located outside of the Somerville Reading Room (Spence Wing, level 1) for customers using this room to store personal bags. All other bags will be allowed into the study and computer space with security monitoring the area.

Health and safety of our customer and staff

What safety and hygiene measures are in place?

To keep our staff and customers safe we will continue to follow the physical distancing, building capacity limits and increased hygiene practises outlined by the State Government in their roadmap to recovery.

We will continue to:

  • Monitor the number of people allowed in areas within the building that have capacity limits.
  • Increase the frequency of cleaning the library, particularly in high touch areas - computer equipment, counters, photocopiers, handrails - in line with health advice from SA Health and the Australian Department of Health.

Please note protective screens have been installed at the Information Desk, level 1.

We ask you and our staff:

  • If you have cold or flu symptoms or feel unwell please do not enter the building. You can still use the library and ask for help via our online resources and services.
  • To follow physical distancing principles:

    Everyone needs to maintain at least 1.5 metres physical distance between one another at all times.

  • To continue to wash your hands often and cover coughs and sneezes. We have hand sanitiser stations at the entry of the building and also around the library. Please sanitise your hands on entering the building, after using equipment or handling materials and visiting the toilets.

Why are there so many security staff?

You will see an increase in the number of Security staff within the building. This is to help with monitoring the number of people in the building and to make sure the conditions of entry are being followed. Security is there to help you if needed.

Service update

What services will be available?

Some of our regular services are unavailable, some available but limited, and others may require booking in advance. We strongly recommend that you phone the library on (08) 8207 7250 before your visit.

You are able to:

  • browse collections (with some exceptions)

  • get reference help

  • request access to State Library collections

  • view heritage items in the Somerville Reading Room

  • access microfilm

  • obtain a library card

  • lodge research requests

  • order copies of collection material

  • access group study rooms (limitations in place)

  • access quiet study areas

  • use a computer

  • print and photocopy.

What services will not be available?

You are not able to:

  • use the English Language Improvement Service
  • view the latest editions of hardcopy newspapers
  • obtain ongoing help whilst accessing State Library equipment.

Can I use the computers?

Yes, a reduced number of computers are available for customers with a State Library card, at first for 2 hour per day.

Computers have been spread out to maintain safe distancing and are being cleaned regularly.

Can I print or photocopy documents?

Yes, you can print or photocopy documents in the Spence Wing, level 1, but it is self-service. Library cards can be topped up at the Kiosk.

Will I be able to attend an English Language Improvement service conversation group of meet with a tutor?

No, the English Language Improvement Service remains suspended.

Can I speak to someone about Family History?

While the family history desk is not staffed, you can still ask for basic help at the Information Desk.

To get you on your way to discovering your family history, we also encourage you to look at our family history starter guide.

Can I book a Group Study Room?

Yes, but to comply with physical distancing requirements our rooms have reduced capacity (2 people in the smaller rooms, 7 in the large room). Please contact the library to make a booking. We will maintain one room for use by our more vulnerable customers (i.e. older people, people with chronic health conditions etc.) who require an isolated space in which to study. Speak to staff if you wish to access this.

Can I study in the Mortlock Chamber?

Yes quiet study areas on the Mezzanine Level of the Mortlock Wing are now available for up to a maximum of 28 people.

You can also visit the Mortlock Chamber on the ground floor to look at the exhibition bays with a limit of 75 people. 

Can I book a venue for a meeting, training course or event?

All our hire venue spaces remain closed and will reopen when it is safe to do so.

When will the National Archives of Australia (NAA) Adelaide research desk reopen?

The NAA reference desk in the Somerville Reading Room is open to the public. Opening hours are 10am to 4pm Wednesday to Friday. Visit the National Archives South Australia website for more information.

Is the State Library Cafe open?

The State Library Cafe is now open Monday to Friday, 8am to 2pm.

Access to the collections

Can I browse the books on the shelves?

Yes, the majority of open access collections can be browsed and accessed by our customers, with the exception of daily newspapers and some high demand Family History resources.

Once you have finished with an item you must return it to one of our reshelving trolleys, after which it will be quarantined for three days before it is returned to the shelves for reuse. 

Can I request a book to be retrieved from onsite or offsite to use in the library?

Retrievals will occur as usual, but the material will be quarantined for three days after use. We recommend you place retrieval requests before your visit.

Will I be able to look at the daily newspapers?

No, daily newspapers in the Newspaper's area are not available. As these items cannot be cleaned and are frequently handled, we are unsure how access could be offered in a safe and equitable manner.

Microfilm newspapers and basement storage newspapers are available.

Many South Australian newspapers are available to access via the State Library’s subscription databases. We encourage customers to use these and continue to work towards a procedure for making the hard copy versions accessible as soon as we are able.

Information about exhibitions, tours, events and education programs

Will I be able to see any exhibitions?

Yes, the State Library Gallery and Treasures Wall exhibitions are open. Visitor numbers in these area have been capped at 25 to ensure that social distancing and the 1 person per 2 square metre rule can be observed.

Visitors are also welcome to view the exhibition bays in the Mortlock Chamber. The maximum number in the Chamber is capped at 75.

Security will be monitoring these areas to support these restrictions.

Please do not touch surfaces in the exhibition displays.

Exhibitions on display include:

Without Consent: Australia's Past Adoption Practices (National Archives of Australia touring exhibition) on display until 1 November 2020 in the State Library Gallery, ground floor. Please note some video content on the touchscreens is not available but can be viewed via the companion website Forced Adoptions History Project, created by the National Archives of Australia.

When will I be able to attend events or take a tour of the library?

For now, our events and library tours are still on hold.

To keep up to date with the latest news about the library, sign up to our enews.

When can I book my school class into one of your education programs?

Our education programs are on hold until further notice. Our Education Team has been busy developing exciting new learning opportunities for students and educators while the library has been closed.

To keep up to date with our programs, sign up to our Education News.

Online resources and services

As always we are here to help and encourage you to continue to use our online resources where possible, including:

Questions can still be asked through one of the following channels:

Live chat service

Use our live chat service, available between 10am and 4pm weekdays, to receive real-time help from a librarian. Head to our Ask Us page, or look for the chatbox on our website.

Ask Us

Complete our online form for in-depth research and assistance.

Phone service

Our phone service is staffed from 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday. We strongly encourage you to call the library before your visit.

Phone: (08) 8207 7250
Toll-free for regional SA: 1800 182 013

T​​his information, and our social media channels, will be updated as changes to services take place.