Libraries in South Australia | What’s on Offer at Your Local Council Library

local south australian council libraries

Libraries in South Australia – Find out what’s on offer at your local council library

Council libraries have always been a haven for book lovers seeking a quiet cosy corner to escape from the world. While they still have cosy corners, couches and an amazing collection of fabulous books for children and adults, they also offer so much more. SA council libraries have the unique One Card borrowing system, toy libraries, access to digital books, magazines, and fantastic activities for children and families.

South Australia’s council libraries have also become one of our favourite places to meet and even make some noise! Some council libraries also offer cafés and meeting rooms and can be used by everyone in the community. They’re a great place for people to be creative and learn, to utilise digital platforms, free internet and computer access. Many council libraries also host JP services and lend out toys, computer tablets, and sometimes even garden equipment. They run programs that bring people together, like story time, summer reading clubs, English as second language courses, digital literacy courses and book discussion groups.

Councils operate over 100 libraries and support another 40 school-based, joint-use libraries in rural and remote areas. 

One Card System

The One Card system is an ingenious library borrowing system unique to South Australia. SA council library customers can use the ‘One Card’ for any public library across the whole State. The single card provides access to over 4 million items and connects more than 100+ council libraries in SA. It’s such a convenient way for the whole community to access the entire public library collection. The great thing is, you can borrow and return items at any council library – that’s right, you can return an item to a different library. How handy is this when you’re on holidays and travelling around SA.

Click here to find out more about the One Card System

Toy Libraries

Many council libraries around SA have a toy library. These are simple to join and for a small annual fee, you get access to a huge range of toys, puzzles and board games for all ages. Access to a toy library has many benefits including a rotating supply of toys to aid the development of children without the expense of buying outright. How often do you buy a toy and the kids stop playing with it after a week (or even five minutes)? Borrowing from a toy library means you can have different toys all the time without cluttering up the house, or dwindling your wallet and it’s better for the environment!

Some council libraries even offer party toys and packs to keep kids entertained at parties for a small fee. These may include ride-on toy cars, mini rollercoaster toys, toddler slides and seesaws, party games.

Did you know that some council libraries also offer access to a range of sporting and recreational equipment that may include:

  • Sporting equipment – bats, balls and nets
  • Board games
  • Jigsaws
  • Costumes
  • XBox 360, Wii and Playstation 4 games

Click here to read more about South Australian Council Toy Libraries

Baby Programs 

Council libraries offer fun and interactive nursery rhyme time for parents with babies and toddlers up to 2 years. These sessions are a lovely way for parents to bond with their children and also get to know other parents. Sessions usually incorporate nursery rhymes, action songs and percussion instruments. 

Preschool Story Time

The ancient art of storytelling continues weekly in council libraries all around SA with Story Time for children aged 2-5 years. These sessions are usually free and bookings are generally not necessary. 

Reading to children from the day they are born is still the greatest way to shape future literacy and development in children. These 30-45 minute sessions may include stories, songs, craft and rhymes. 

Attending a storytime session at the library is a great way to make friends and start a life-long love of reading in little ones that will benefit them for their whole life. 

Please check your council library to confirm details.

School Holiday Activities

More and more council libraries are now offering free or low cost school holiday activities for school-aged children. These may include:

  • Craft Activities and take-home craft activity packages
  • STEAM activities
  • Coding
  • Fun with Virtual Reality
  • Colouring competitions
  • Lego building challenges
  • Teen Book Clubs

Meeting Areas

Many councils around South Australia have redeveloped their library facilities which are now more like communal hubs with access to cafe seating, coffee machines, comfy lounge areas or beautiful, landscaped courtyards. For anyone looking to relax with a good book or magazine, these areas are a relaxing haven. They are also great places for families with children to meet. Some even have a playground outside.

There are some fabulous spaces for children to play, read and develop their imagination.

Council libraries also offer designated meeting rooms which can be booked in advance.


Digital Resources

The One Card Network offers free 24/7 access to a wealth of resources including:

  • Digital newspapers and magazines
  • eBooks and eAudiobooks
  • eFilms (check with your local council library)
  • Online Learning Platform – LyndaLibrary – great for people out of work who want to upskill.
  • English Training
  • Researching Family History 


digital newspapers

Home Service & Mobile Libraries

Home delivery services are a vital link for residents who may be unable to attend a library in person due to illness, injury or lack of transport. These services are usually staffed by volunteers who arrange for items to be delivered to homes, aged care facilities or short term respite care facilities.

Mobile Libraries are literally small libraries on wheels that visit kindergartens, schools, shopping centres, nursing homes and townships. They are part of the One Card borrowing system and carry books, magazines, CD’s and DVD’s and they operate on a rotating timetable. Contact your local council library for more information.

Libraries SA App

This is such a fabulous tool for library users:

  • Use your phone as a library card – store your membership number and barcode on your phone
  • Search the catalogue – locate items on the catalogue and place holds with just a few clicks
  • eBooks & audiobooks – read a massive range of titles on your tablet or phone
  • Digital magazines – free access to more than 400 big name magazine titles like Women’s Weekly, Top Gear, Men’s Fitness, Elle, Vogue and Better Homes & Gardens
  • Online learning – free access to thousands of courses covering topics like design, business, animation, photography, digital and technology
  • Scan any book, DVD or CD barcode to see if it’s in any SA  council libraries 
  • What’s on – see which events are happening at a library near you
  • My account – manage your checkouts and loans (e.g. extend loan) with a few clicks.

Click here to get the link and download for Apple and Android

libraries sa app

Library Locations

Click here to search the interactive map and find a library near you.


Burnside Council Library & Toy Library | Read our review

Parks Council Library & Toy Library | Read more here

Kadina Community Library | Read our review

Victor Harbor Council Library & Toy Library | Read our review

Mitcham Community Library & Toy Library | Read our review

Unley Civic Library & Toy Library | Read our review

SA councils – part of your everyday!


At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

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