Music PAL FAQs

What is Music PAL?

Music PAL makes music resources in a broad range of libraries throughout Ireland easily accessible to all.

Participating libraries and archives collaborate to provide improved, easy access to the wealth of music resources held in Irish libraries. Music PAL is part of the ‘Pathways to Learning’ programme initiated by the Committee on Library Cooperation in Ireland (COLICO), which aims to create a seamless route to information resources by opening up access to a wide range of library and archive collections – national, academic, public and specialised.

The RASCAL database (Research and Special Collections Available
Locally) acts as a finding aid to music resources available through Music PAL.

How can Music PAL help me?

If you are following a recognized educational course, an individual learning programme, or simply pursuing a special interest of your own you can ask for a Music PAL Access Card at the library you use on a regular basis. The Access Card will allow you to visit and make use of the facilities at any of the libraries participating in the Music PAL scheme (subject to certain conditions). Your own library will give you advice on other libraries that are likely to have the resources to meet your learning and information needs.

Why do I need an Access Card?

Many of the libraries in the scheme are run primarily for the members of their particular institution, and are not normally open to the general public. The Music PAL Access Card informs the staff at the library you are visiting that you are a genuine learner and that your special requirements for knowledge and information cannot be fully met by your own library.

As a Music PAL Access Card holder, will I have unlimited access to the services of these libraries?

Your level of access will be determined by the library you are visiting. At a minimum you will be allowed to consult printed materials. Due to licence agreements, Internet and electronic resources cannot normally be used in academic libraries unless you are a student of that organisation. The library will explain this to you and answer your questions.

How do I get a Music PAL Access Card?

It’s very simple:
• Discuss your learning and information needs with staff in your own library
• Complete the Music PAL Application Form (available here, or from your library) and present it to the staff with evidence of your library membership
• Go to the library or libraries which have the material you need and present your Music PAL Access Card and I.D.

Which libraries will I be able to use?

Member libraries include public libraries, universities, conservatories and a number of specialist libraries with music collections. See full list of participating libraries.

Check before you visit to make sure that your journey is not wasted. You should also check opening times. The rules in any library you visit may be different from your own library; please respect them.

Don’t forget … if you need a specific book it can be obtained for you through the Inter-Library Loan system and you may not need to travel to another library.

How did Music 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.

Were the library staff trained?

Yes. A training day for all participating institutions was held in Dublin City Public Library, Pearse Street Library in April 2009.  This updated all the participants with the requirements of the scheme and empowered them to provide training to their staff prior to the commencement of Music PAL on a pilot basis in September 2009.

Who runs Music PAL?

The Music PAL Committee was formed in 2008. Its current membership is:

Roy Stanley (Trinity College Dublin – Chair)
Grace Toland (Irish Traditional Music Archive – PRO)
Honora Faul (National Library of Ireland)
Jack Smith (RTE Audio Services & Archive)
Bridget Cribbin (South Dublin Libraries)
Ciara Gault (Libraries-NI)
Ann Wrigley (Dublin Institute of Technology)
Kitty Buckley (Cork City Libraries)
Deirdre Wildy (Queen’s University Belfast)

Music PAL was officially launched by Deirdre Purcell, novelist and broadcaster on 8th March 2010, during Library Ireland Week .