Midlands PAL FAQs


What is Midlands Pal?

Midlands PAL will launch in January 2012. Midlands Pal is a cooperative agreement between all the main libraries in the Midlands region, with a view to ensuring wider access to learning materials for all the people of Midlands and beyond.  Midlands 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 Midlands 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 Midlands Libraries have now agreed participation in principle (click here to see the list and learn more) to be involved in Midlands Pal. Operating principles for the scheme have been developed and agreed. These can be downloaded here. Other useful documents about how to avail of Midlands Pal and what it’s all about can be downloaded from here.


How Did Midlands Pal Come About?

In 2005 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 was 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.

Midlands Pal began its development in 2011 with help and guidance from the Library Council (later from the Library Development Unit of the Local Government Management Agency), and Cork Pal and Music Pal. Midlands Pal will launch in January 2013

Were the library staff trained?

Yes. To facilitate Midlands Pal implementation a training day was organised for June 6th 2012 in Athlone Institute of Technology. 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 2012.


Who runs Midlands Pal?

A coordinating team has been set up to implement Midlands Pal with representatives from all the participating libraries. This team, chaired by Mary Reynolds (County Librarian, Longford County Council) meets regularly to facilitate the programme’s implementation.