Kids try new things all the time. Making mud pies, building sandcastles, mixing magic potions and imagining medieval battlefields are part of their everyday. Trying new things does something beautiful to the brain – it expands the imagination, takes our mind off whatever’s stressful, and helps us learn more about ourselves and the world.

For the whole of July, Libraries SA is encouraging all of us to try something new through its inaugural Firstival. More than 350 events – from learning to grow veggies to creating a puzzle art piece for your empty living room wall – are being held across the state’s network of 130 public libraries. With activities covering arts and crafts, food and drink, science and tech, language, games, nature, music and more, all interests are covered.

Events range from the extremely useful (like understanding two-factor authentication and how to keep your indoor plants alive) to the unnecessary-but-wildly-fun (like a 3D Great Barrier Reef experience and a Nintendo Switch competition). Other highlights include weaving workshops with the Southern Elders Weaving Group; learning about the dark arts of fermentation with local fermenting icon Mandy Hall from Slow Food South Australia; tips for starting a Youtube side hustle; and a photography workshop presented by Adelaide photographer Luke Greaves.

Save 20% when you buy two or more Broadsheet books. Order now to make sure they arrive in time for Christmas.


“From augmented reality sessions to cooking workshops and even a Harry Potter-inspired Hogwarts escape room experience, there really is something for everyone across the Firstival program,” Public Libraries Association of SA president Damian Garcia tells Broadsheet. “We’re proud to encourage all South Australians to seek new experiences and connect with their local library in ways they never have before.”

Of course, book banter is a big part of the picture. Various libraries are running book clubs throughout the month, and authors in conversation, including Anna Funder discussing her new book Wifedom at Norwood Concert Hall on July 19.

Anyone dreaming of smashing out a novel can attend writing workshops, and there’s an adults-only storytime event in which you can indulge in some rude, crude, funny and downright wrong picture books made for adults.

The festival program, which runs across the school holidays, also features a bunch of kid-friendly activities including family Lego nights, craft classes where kids can make their own cuttle fish sculptures or monster finger puppets, worm farm workshops, “Slime Time”, and wiggle and giggle time for babies.

“Libraries are more than places to borrow books, they’re our communities’ living rooms,” Hanlie Erasmus, associate director at Libraries SA, tells Broadsheet. “They are places to come together and connect, to play and be creative, to enrich ourselves in lifelong learning.”

*Firstival will be held until Monday July 31, 2023, with a program of free and low-cost events at each of the state’s 130 public libraries.

For more information on events at each library and to book, visit*