Inspiring a lifetime love of learning

At Play Cultural Heart Our Wellbeing People of Adelaide

Over the years, libraries have become ever-evolving places for lifelong learning – modern spaces alive with hands-on workshops, expert talks, art exhibitions, and even 3D printers! We asked a few regulars to our three city-based libraries to share some of their favourite library memories and how these creative community hubs continue to support their own, and their families, journeys of discovery.

Amazing art

Library user michael with his artwork

Michael with his artwork 'Australian Blue Solar System' at City Library.

City resident Michael Gill has been visiting Adelaide City Libraries for the past 12 years, exploring the collections to learn more about personal health, nature and photography, and regularly enjoying chats with the library team about art.

It was these conversations that sparked the idea for Michael to share his own art with others by applying to put his work on show publicly for the first time in the City Library’s recent ‘Last Summer’ exhibition.

“Being accepted to display art in the City Library was a very encouraging, out of the blue experience."
Michael Gill, City Library regular

Since displaying his artwork, Michael has some words of advice for others wanting to get more involved with library events or activities.

“Keep at it. Keep it simple. Discuss it with the staff because they’re good at guiding you towards other learning methods available within the library.”

Growing up, library visits for Michael were about time spent with his dad. 

“It was his style of cultivating learning. He wanted our library visits to be good memories.”

Today, a visit to the City Library for Michael is like stepping into a whole other world, whether you get there by lift or take the stairs!

“It’s three levels up and can be your own private research centre away from everything going on three levels below.”

Family fun

Dad and kids at hutt st library

James and his sons visit Hutt Street Library weekly.

After moving to Adelaide, city resident James Munro and his partner began visiting Hutt Street Library in 2012, often attending Family Storytime with their eldest son Fergus, now eight. Since then, they’ve grown to a family of five and are as keen on books as they are hiking!

A library fan as a youngster himself, James now enjoys library time with his three sons Dominic, Ewan and Fergus, making weekly trips to read, relax and borrow new books, and participate in activities such as the 3D pen workshop.

“I grew up in a small regional town in New South Wales,” said James. “The library was very basic, but I loved going there for what, in my mind, was a huge collection of books - anything and everything you could possibly want to know was in there!

“Libraries have now become important community hubs. Our kids not only use it for books but also for community engagement activities and printing,” said James.

These days, James enjoys browsing the shelves or the newspaper while his kids read and explore.

I’m a stay-at-home dad this year so I’m often going through the cooking section for new ideas. At the same time, I always grab something from the travel section. My reading usually involves some kind of adventure book,” said James.

The convenience of Hutt Street Library is a bonus for James.

“It's quite a small library so it’s easy to keep an eye on the kids while they look for books, and the staff are very helpful. The children’s section is very welcoming - the kids love sitting on the cushions to read their newest books.”
James Munro, Hutt Street Library regular

James’ trio can usually be spotted with their heads in books on topics like animals facts or search-and-find.

“My favourite books are from David Walliams,” said Fergus. “They’re an easy funny read and also I like scary science series because they’re interesting.”

The coolest thing he’s discovered lately?

“Poison, and that the king rattlesnake is a constrictor!”

Creative conversations

City library user frances with staff member

Frances chats with library staff member, Prue, at City Library.

An advocate for lifelong learning, Frances has been visiting Adelaide City Libraries for over 30 years and is an active member in the community as an artist and volunteer.

Her love for creative arts and hands-on learning began early-on in life and is a passion she continues to explore through the City Library’s collections and free programs. Frances regularly attends various artistic workshops where she can meet fellow creatives, share skills and try different tools and materials.

“I’m interested in sustainable living, so I appreciate the many shared community resources provided at libraries."
Frances, Adelaide City Libraries regular

Libraries have changed a lot since she was a kid and just keep getting better.

Mum often took us to the library with her because she loves reading, but I didn’t want to go. I wanted to be playing outside or making things,” said Frances. “That’s because when I was a kid, the library was shelves and shelves of books and 'Shushhhh!' Now I love their welcoming atmosphere, their innovation and the ever-changing opportunities to try new interesting things.”

Her favourite thing about going to the library? 

“The surprises. There’s often things you’d not expect, like the Lego Club, animation workshops or last year’s ukulele workshop. You can score some great bargains at the monthly Recycled Reads too."

Top reading tips

With things warming up for winter, our library-goers also shared their top reading tips.

Michael: "The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis. This book quite often reflects our life back to us in different ways."

James:"Sitting inside on a cold windy day with a cup of tea greatly improves the experience of any book."

Frances: "Cricket Kings by William McInnes. He’s funny and insightful, and very passionate about Australia."

Visit the website to find out the location, opening times and services available at all three Adelaide City Libraries.

Article by

Kate Klavins

You’ll usually find Kate exploring Adelaide’s gardens, bookstores and art galleries. The detail in even the tiniest bloom won’t escape her attention, a trait that goes well beyond the florist.