What is Cork PAL?

Cork PAL is a cooperative agreement between all the main libraries in Cork city and county, with a view to ensuring wider access to learning materials for all the people of Cork and beyond.  Cork PAL ensures increased access to libraries and the valuable resources they hold and maintain. It ensures greater cooperation between libraries and a more beneficial use of public resources.  It facilitates the people of Cork to get the learning resources that they need, whenever they need them.


How does it work?

Simply put, any member of any library can acquire access to another library in order to utilise specific materials that they may stock which may be of use to the visitor. The member makes an application to their own library which then agrees the access with the library they wish to visit.


How can I apply?

Just go along to your own library and make an enquiry. Your library staff will do the rest!


Which Libraries are involved?

All relevant Cork Libraries have now agreed participation in principle (click here to see the list and learn more) to be involved in Cork PAL. Operating principles for the scheme have been developed and agreed. These can be downloaded here. Other useful documents about how to avail of Cork PAL and what it’s all about can be downloaded from here.


How Did Cork Pal Come About?

In 2005 COLICO (COLICO (Committee on Library Co-operation in Ireland) noted the success of cross-sectoral library service provision set by INSPIRE in the UK ( and agreed to explore the potential for transferring the programme into an Irish context.

Following a conference COLICO agreed to establish the Pathways to Learning programme (PAL) in Ireland. PAL addresses the challenges in providing managed wider access to the rich resources of Irish libraries, archives and information services.

The Cork region is the first regional choice for a PAL because of the range of public, educational and health libraries and archives. Good transport links and technological support are available to enhance the users’ experience.

Various meetings were held in Cork in 2007 and 2008 and in November 2008 a presentation from the Foyle Programme in Northern Ireland showed how such a local sharing programme was developed in Derry.

Were the library staff trained?

Yes. To facilitate Cork PAL implementation a training day was organised for May 21st 2009 in the Boole Library, UCC. This familiarised all the participants with what is involved and enabled them to go on to provide internal training to all their  staff during the Summer of 2009. This was followed up with another training day in Feburary 2012 in the Cork County Council library headquarters.

The agenda for the 2009 training is available here.

More information, photos and the agenda from the 2011 training is available here.


Who runs Cork PAL?

A coordinating team has been set up to implement Cork PAL with representatives from all the participating libraries. This team, chaired by Valerie King ((Head of Customer Services, Boole Library, UCC) meets regularly to facilitate the programme’s implementation.


Cork PAL coordinating team