South Australia's public libraries work collaboratively to provide a service to all South Australians.
The network operates within a Memorandum of Agreement between state and local government. This agreement provides the framework within which both parties contribute to ensuring that all South Australians have access to modern, free public library services.
Local government provides the significant proportion of the funds for public libraries (approximately 75%), with the State providing key funding which supports the "network" approach to the provision of services across the state. This approach is underpinned by the services provided to public libraries by Public Library Services (PLS); a business unit of the Libraries Board of South Australia operating within the Department of State Development (DSD) and funded from within the State's funding to public libraries.
South Australia effectively has two types of public libraries; those owned and operated by local councils, with a subsidy provided by the State Government, and School Community Libraries (SCLs), which are significantly resourced and funded by the State, with some local government contribution. These SCLs generally operate in communities with a population of less than 3,000 people.
Council populations in South Australia range from over 150,000 to less than 1,000. This difference in population has an impact on library service delivery methods and on the range of services and technologies that libraries can provide to their communities.