Let’s get something straight, I’m a huge fan of South Australia’s public libraries. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t addicted to reading, so spending a couple of hours perusing the quiet aisles at my local library has always been an indulgence.
Yet, as the years went by, I lost touch with my library love and, sadly, their embracing of ebooks passed me by. When disaster struck and my beloved Kindle died, I found myself in a library again and realised just how far SA’s public libraries have come. Everything you need is right at your fingertips, and I was itching to dive back into this wonderful world of books, information and so much more.
If it’s been a while since your last visit, let me refresh you on everything that’s waiting for you behind those welcoming library doors…
- All ages allowed
From bubs through to seniors, there’s something for everyone at the library. Studies show the most active period of brain development is from birth to three years of age, with exposure to stories and language making a big difference. So pop into one of the Storytime or Babytime programs with your brood to start stimulating their little brains, then grab a coffee with the other parents afterwards.
Many libraries have regular programs and activities for all ages, such as author talks, special events, educational programs and craft sessions. Check with your local library to see what’s on the agenda.
- Access over 50,000 eBook and Audiobooks
Now that’s a lot of books! Reading or listening to books on a device has become one of the most popular ways to access books, and now you can borrow any time and enjoy automatic returns with no late fees. The SA collection keeps growing and they’re always adding new titles, so you’ll never run out of a good read. Find them at libraries.sa.gov.au/ebooks
- Dally in the digital world
Not only do all libraries provide access to the internet, computers and printing, but many also have educational programs on how to be safe online, online shopping and using social media — ideal for people who want to stay connected but are a bit nervous about diving into the online world. Some libraries also have ‘maker spaces’ where you can learn about robotics, coding and how to use 3D printers.
- Sign important documents
Forget the stress of those pesky forms that must be signed by a Justice of the Peace — you’ll find a JP at many libraries, and they provide a range of services. Just make sure to check their availability and office hours before dropping in.
- Toys galore
Why not borrow some toys from the public libraries toy collection? You’ll save money, it’s less wasteful for the environment, plus your kids won’t get sick of the same old toys. The Lego range is on a whole new level… check with your library to see if it has a toy collection.
- Read all your favourite magazines in your own time
No more quickly flicking through a mag at the hairdressers or gingerly touching a dog-eared copy in a doctor’s waiting room — now, you can get all your favourite magazines for free on your smartphone or iPad. We’re talking everything from Australian Women’s Weekly and Vogue Australia to Better Homes & Gardens, The Guardian, Men’s Health and more. Also, I highly recommend this great read, called Adelady mag. Find them at libraries.sa.gov.au/digitalmags
- Pick up at one library, return at another
Because all of SA’s public libraries are connected by the OneCard network, you can you borrow something at one library and return it at another. Plus you’ve now got millions of items to choose from, as the collections from all of the libraries have been combined.
Your local library is the perfect place to indulge in ‘me time’, where you can sink into some comfy furniture and read whatever takes your fancy on the shelves… it’s the perfect antidote to the stresses of modern life.
Keep the library in your pocket
The Libraries SA app lets you use your phone as a library card and also look up the catalogue to place items on hold with just a few clicks. You can even scan any book, DVD or CD barcode to see if it’s available in the library – perfect for when you’re at friend’s house or even out shopping. Search for ‘Libraries SA’ on the AppStore or GooglePlay.
You don’t have to walk into a library to join these days. Visit libraries.sa.gov.au/join for digital membership and start accessing digital services immediately, such as eBooks and digital mags. To borrow physical library materials, visit your library with your ID and have your account upgraded.