Are dog friendly libraries the way of the future?

August 09, 2021

You could argue that dogs and libraries are incompatible – one is a quiet hub for education and relaxation, the other is illiterate, potentially noisy, often energetic and – on occasion – home-work eating.

So what happens if you pair up this odd couple? Well, you get the Walkerville Civic and Community Centre.

For the past seven years, the Walkerville Library has opened its doors to four-legged members of the local community and – perhaps surprisingly to some – it’s been a huge success.

The dog-friendly library is the first of its kind in South Australia (that we know of). It’s a trend we hope to see gain momentum across other councils.

A new chapter for South Australian libraries

The Libraries’ spokesperson Danielle Garvey, says the initiative has created a whole new level of inclusivity for its residents.

“Many people integrate a library visit into their daily walk.  We didn’t want to force residents to leave their dogs out in the elements,” Danielle explained.

“Staff love that dogs can come into the facility and residents love the way our staff gush over their beautiful babies. Visiting residents are surprised and happy when they see a dog in the library”

Curling up with your dog and a good book

Danielle is always delighted to see so many furry regulars, with some deciding to pay a visit without their owners even knowing.

“Our customer service staff know the dogs’ names and personalities as much (if not more) than our two-legged residents,” laughed Danielle.

“There used to be a local dog that was notorious for escaping his yard to come and visit the library when his owners had left the house. After the first couple of times, the owners knew that if the dog wasn’t at home, then he would shortly turn up at the library!

“We have a water bowl that we put out when dogs are visiting. We also have several dog blankets available for those staying in the library for an extended period of time so the pooches can lay in comfort rather than on the concrete floor,” she said.

You may see some of these furry faces around the library. 


Marketing Manager Sarah Spencer has two Border Collies who keep her on her toes. Bear is very popular with his one bright blue eye.

 Danielle Garvey with her adopted pooch Duke. Originally a stray, the Greyhound-Kelpie cross is spoilt for love in his forever home. 

Walkerville mayor Elizabeth Fricker holding her dog, Jack – a regular visitor to the community hub.

Interested in finding dog-friendly locations in your neighbourhood? Check out RSPCA’s PetStop, our pet-friendly venue locator app. 


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