The State Library of South Australia
, located on North Terrace, Adelaide
North Terrace is one of the four terraces that bound the central business and residential district of the city of Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia. It runs east-west, along the northern edge of the CBD.-North Side of North Terrace:...
, is the official library of the Australian state of South Australia
South Australia is a state of Australia in the southern central part of the country. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent; with a total land area of , it is the fourth largest of Australia's six states and two territories.South Australia shares borders with all of the mainland...
. It is the largest public research library in the state with a collection focus on South Australian information, and general reference material for information and research purposes.
It holds the "South Australiana" collection, which documents South Australia from pre-European settlement to the present day. Reference material comes in a wide range of formats from digital and electronic to film, sound recordings, photographic, video and microfiche. Library collections are not for loan and must be used on site. Customers can gain access to a large array of journals, newspapers and other resources from the comfort of their own home by registering for Home Access
The State Library of South Australia:
- provides information, research and referral services for the community,
- actively collects, preserves and give access to the state’s documentary heritage (both historical and contemporary),
- enhances the cultural life of the state through public programs and other life-long learning opportunities,
- supports public libraries, and
- co-operates with other agencies to enhance economic, educational and social benefits of the state.
The building now known as the Mortlock Wing was opened on 18 December 1884 as a Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery for the colony of South Australia with 23,000 books and a staff of three.
Construction of the building took over 18 years to complete after the initial foundations were laid in 1866.
The foundation stone was laid on 7 November 1879 by Sir William Jervois and the building was constructed by Brown and Thompson at a total cost of £43,897.
The building is French Renaissance in style with a mansard roof
A mansard or mansard roof is a four-sided gambrel-style hip roof characterized by two slopes on each of its sides with the lower slope at a steeper angle than the upper that is punctured by dormer windows. The roof creates an additional floor of habitable space, such as a garret...
. The walls are constructed of brick with Sydney freestone facings with decorations in the darker shade of Manoora stone.
The interior has two galleries, the first supported by masonry columns, and the second by cast iron brackets. The balconies feature wrought iron balustrading ornamented with gold while the glass-domed roof allows the chamber to be lit with natural light. Two of the original gas "sunburner" lamps survive in the office space located on the second floor at the southern end.
Restoration of the building occurred in 1985 as a Jubilee 150 project by Danvers Architects, consultant architect to the South Australian Department of Housing and Construction. The $1.5 million project was jointly funded by the government and the community.
In honour of a substantial bequest from John Andrew Tennant Mortlock, the Libraries Board of South Australia resolved that a percentage of the South Australiana Collections would be housed in the wing and named the Mortlock Library of South Australiana in 1986.
General reference collections
The general reference and research material in the State Library was named the Bray Reference Library in 1987 after former SA Chief Justice, Dr John Jefferson Bray, who served on the Libraries Board of South Australia from 1944 to 1987.
The State Library has a national responsibility to collect, preserve and give access to historical and contemporary South Australian information. The South Australiana collections document South Australia from pre-white settlement to the present day, and the Northern Territory to 1911. The South Australiana collection is one of the most comprehensive in the world due to legal deposit requirements for published material, and through donations of unpublished material. A well known donation is the Bradman Collection of cricketing memorabilia.
The State Library's rare books collection is the major collection of its kind in South Australia. It comprises Australian and international items which have been identified as having a special interest through subject matter or rarity.
Children's Literature Research Collection
The Children's Literature Research Collection was formed in 1959 and has over 65,000 books, periodicals, comics, board and table games, and toys. The collection has been enhanced by donations from South Australian individuals and families and from organisations. It is one of the State Library's heritage collections and is of international importance.