What Do We Want? Digital in South Australia

With 35,000 South Australians accessing our digital collections each month, eBooks and Audio are key to South Australia’s evolving library landscape. The impacts on our statistics are clear – nearly 100,000 items generate in excess of 200,000 loans a month. South Australians respond to the selection, the responsiveness and the convenience of digital. Audio loans exceed those in the physical space and the impact of BookToc on Teen titles especially delights us all, but challenges continue.

While usage statistics in digital prove a welcome counter to usage of the physical collection, the costs associated with the digital collection are increasing at a rapid rate. More customers are placing more holds, and in the absence of funding, allocated on an annual basis, our customers are waiting longer for the title they want to read while we try and ensure new material is also available. Our suppliers are expected to report on key KPIs on a quarterly basis while we seek to consider what is an appropriate balance between the digital and physical formats and what will our customers accept from the collection (and what do they expect?). 

Sarah Powell

Collection Development Librarian, Public Library Services South Australia

Author Bio

Sarah is a Collection Development Librarian within Public Library Services in South Australia. With a focus on digital and data analysis, she works within a small (but mighty!) Collections and Content Team who manage both physical and digital acquisitions for the statewide consortium. 8 years ago, Sarah was the library manager in a remote South Australian mining town – and before that she worked in Minerals Processing for 16 years.

Helen Kwaka

Manager Collections & Content, Public Library Services

Author Bio

Helen Kwaka is Manager, Collections & Content at Public Library Services South Australia. Helen is passionate about public libraries and has worked delivering services to the community for over 25+ years. She was Manager of Library Services at Tea Tree Gully for 15 years, the largest single site within the state. In 2021 she successfully joined the State Library of South Australia as Manager, Collections & Content. The team is responsible for the establishment, and management of contracts for physical and digital content for the South Australian Public Library Network.