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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)




Can any group join?

NPALS is primarily available to groups based in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Leicester, Leicestershire, Rutland and Derby City.

U.K. groups based outside our service area can also join and borrow stock from NPALS. An additional administration fee is applicable to groups based outside the service area and Inter Library Loan services are unavailable to these groups. Please see our about us page for more details.

How do we join?


Registration is online; up to two members per group can sign up, each person will need an email address for registration and communication. (Ideally, persons responsible for ordering titles and paying fees).


I have a library card already can I use it to borrow NPALS stock?

The service can only be used by groups who have registered directly with NPALS (individuals may be able to access single copies of plays or music scores through their local public library).


How much does it cost?

MUSIC group registration is free and each loan is charged pay-as-you-go in advance.

DRAMA group registration includes an annual subscription fee. See full details in about us.


Are there any discounts available?

At the moment we do not offer discounts for bundle orders, one-off workshops, educational or charity use. This will be reviewed regularly, however, the sustainability of the service relies upon the income made, which is then re-invested.


Can I see what you stock before joining?

Yes, you can view the catalogue online (to check whether a title is available for specific dates you will need to register).

Reference copies of each title are available to browse at Radford-Lenton Library.


Is there someone I can talk to?

A member of staff will be available during opening hours and you can talk to them by phone, or in person. You can also email with queries, comments and suggestions, staff will reply ASAP.


Where are you and when are you open?

We are based in Radford-Lenton Library in Nottingham, for full details visit our contact us page.





Is there help using the website?


A detailed guide to using the service is available on request; this guide includes how to search the catalogue. Helpful video tutorials for music and drama searches are available online, or you can contact the staff for support, during opening hours.


How do I order titles?

Once you have registered, just log in to the website, find a title on the catalogue and follow the online instructions. If you need practical help please see above.

All NPALS stock orders must be placed at least 1 calendar month in advance and a minimum of 2 months’ notice is required for Inter-Library Loans.


Can sets be ordered by phone or email?

All orders must be placed online by the group, including requests for Inter-Library Loans. If you need help or advice, please contact NPALS, or refer to the service guide, (which is available on request).


Can I visit NPALS and ask for a set on the day?

All orders must be placed online and a minimum of 1 calendar month in advance, you can use a computer at the library to do this free of charge.


How far in advance can a set be ordered?

Groups can place orders up to 1 year ahead (but must place orders a minimum of 1 calendar month in advance for NPALS stock and 2 months for Inter-Library Loans).


How many sets can I have on loan?

MUSIC GROUPS can have up to 15 titles on loan AND 15 future orders (reservations)

at any one time.

DRAMA GROUPS can have up to 12 titles on loan PLUS 12 future orders (reservations).


What if…

·         I can’t find the set I need on your   catalogue?

·         Someone else has already booked it?

·         You don’t have enough copies?


It may be possible to borrow items from another UK library; groups can request an Inter-Library Loan via their online account. NPALS may also consider purchasing new titles and additional copies; therefore suggestions as well as official requests are welcomed.


How long can I keep the copies?

The maximum loan period is 9 months. The minimum loan period is 1 month. Orders are issued and renewed by calendar month.


Can I keep my order for longer than the original booking?

If your order is a stock reservation, yes. Once copies are on loan to you and as long as no one else has ordered the same copies, you can extend the loan of a set online via the group account. See the service guide for more details (available on request). Music renewals do not complete until the new hire charges are paid.


It is not generally possible to renew orders secured via Inter Library Loan. Please contact us to check availability.


How do I cancel an order?

Cancelling an order is done online through the group account, please note this is free for NPALS stock orders, if cancelled at least 4 weeks (28 days) before the start date. Charges apply for cancellations after this time and for Inter-Library Loan cancellations. See our full terms and conditions for more details.


Is there an alert, if a set that was booked by another group becomes available?


We cannot do this at present but we can consider this for future development on the system. Currently the only way is to regularly check the catalogue for any change in availability.


What if there is a fault with the website?                                                  

Please report faults by contacting the NPALS staff, any problems will be dealt with as soon as possible and the Nottingham City Council IT team will deal with the fault.





When do I have to pay?

DRAMA subscriptions, MUSIC hire charges and Inter-Library loan fees are all due before orders are made available. Once your order has been processed (usually 1 month prior to the required date of the loan), you will received a request for payment by email.


How do I know how much to pay?


A list of charges is available on our about page. When an order is pending, a request for payment (showing the amount due) is sent via email. This email will contain a link to further details and the online payment site. A list of payments due and bills paid can also be accessed online via the group account. See the service guide for step by step instructions (available on request).


How do I pay?

All payments are made using a credit or debit card via the Nottingham City Council payment site. You will be directed to this site via the payment request page on the group account. We are currently only able to accept payments online.


Are there any discounts available?

At the moment we do not offer discounts for bundle orders, one-off workshops, educational or charity use. This will be reviewed regularly but currently the sustainability of the service relies on the income made, which is then re-invested in the service.




How long after ordering the set will I receive the copies?


An email will be sent to the group when orders are available for collection at NPALS, or dispatched to collection libraries. An additional email will be sent to the group when orders arrive at designated collection libraries (other than NPALS at Radford-Lenton).

Orders will be made available on the start date of the loan; therefore, travel time for the transfer must be factored in to the loan period. If the start date is an NPALS closed day, we will make available and despatch on the open day prior to the start date. (Music must be paid for, before scores will be made available for collection).


What options are there for collecting orders?

·         Collect in person at NPALS during open hours.

·         Have orders sent to any Nottingham City or Inspire (Nottinghamshire) Library via your NPALS account.

·         Have orders sent to Via Fosse Library in Leicester (Courier charges will apply and are payable in advance)

·         Home Delivery via courier (Courier charges will apply and are payable in advance)


How do I choose my preferred collection / delivery option?

Collection / delivery options are chosen when the set is ordered. A full list of library locations / delivery methods, with the estimated transfer time and any charge, appears on a drop down menu. The group can change their chosen location / delivery method online via the group account at any time before payment has been requested.


Can I collect my order from NPALS?

Yes, if NPALS was chosen as the collection point and the group has been notified that the set is ready.


Can I collect from any library?

A full list of library locations that are available, with the estimated transfer time and any charges, appears on a drop down menu during the ordering process. Only libraries on this list can be used. The group can change their chosen location / delivery method online via the group account at any time before payment has been requested.


Can you send my order to my home address?

Select ‘HOME DELIVERY’ on the list of collection / delivery options when placing your order, estimate and select the box (es) required. You can still change to another method, via the group account online, at any time before payment has been requested.

Courier charges are finalised when the order is being processed and may differ from your estimated values. Borrowers will be notified of the total cost via email. Orders will not be despatched until paid for. Please see our about page for more information. 

HOME DELIVERIES are despatched by next-day courier, once a week (usually Wednesday). Not all couriers guarantee next day delivery, so some orders can arrive up to 48 hours after dispatch.




How do I return a set?

You can return sets:

·         In person at NPALS during open hours

·         At any Nottingham City or Inspire (Nottinghamshire) Library

·         Via Fosse Library in Leicester (Courier charges will apply and be paid to Leicester City Council)

·         Using your own courier (please ensure your delivery day is one of NPALS open days)


IMPORTANT: Once physically returned you must go on to your account and mark each set as returned on the loan detail page.


Do I have to return my order from the same place it was collected?


No, you can choose any of the methods listed above irrespective of the where the order was collected.

Are there any charges for late returns?

Fines will apply for unreturned items (sets or parts of sets) at 50p per title per day (not per copy).  

Orders should be returned complete on or before the due date and marked as returned on the group account to avoid paying fines. There is a 14 day ‘grace period’ before fines are applied to allow for the travel time from other library locations, however, the set should still be dropped off on or before the due date.


What if NPALS or my drop off library is closed on the due date?




We understand that some libraries only open on specific days, if possible take the set before the due date but we accept some will be on the next day after the due date. There is a two week ‘grace period’ before fines are applied to allow for the travel time from other library locations. Don’t forget to mark as returned as soon as you can after dropping off, then we know it is on its way back to us.


What happens if I lose copies?

Wherever possible, we prefer to have our original copies returned, please notify NPALS of any delay in achieving this.

If a copy/part is lost or damaged, a new (exactly matching), replacement must be obtained within 28 days of the due date. If an item is likely to take longer, proof of ordering should be sent to NPALS.

Items that are out of print, or hire only, will be charged for.

After 28 days, where no attempt has been made by the group to resolve overdue items, replacement charge(s) will be applied plus an administration fee. See terms and Conditions for full details.


Can I still place orders and borrow my next set if I have copies or money outstanding?

Any group with money owing above £5 or where there are unresolved overdue / lost copies will be unable to use the service until all issues are resolved.


How do I know if the copies I sent back have reached NPALS and been checked off the group account?


As soon as copies are unpacked at NPALS each barcode is scanned to check items back into stock. You can see that items have been checked back in, by logging on to the group account; titles that have had all copies / parts checked in, will no longer appear in the loans window. (Titles with copies / parts outstanding will still appear in the loans window).


How do I ‘mark a set as returned’?

You can do this by: logging into your npals account, go to my account, choose orders from the dropdown menu, view the item you wish to notify us as being returned, click mark as returned. This will prevent the system from applying automatic overdue charges to your account.





Can you help me advertise my event and promote my group’s activities?


NPALS strives to work with groups to promote the enjoyment of cultural activities. To help sustain music and drama events by providing an award winning service. We actively use social media and encourage groups to post their events there, as well as displaying posters and leaflets.


Can you help me recruit new members?


Your group can post adverts for new members on our social media pages, where we aim to connect groups to each other and potential members.


Can I ask NPALS buy a certain title if they don’t have it already?

NPALS has a small budget to buy new titles and replace copies; we actively encourage suggestions so that we can meet the needs of our users. We cannot promise we will fulfil every request, but we consider each one carefully.


Will there be a member of staff to answer enquiries?


During opening hours there will usually be someone with specialist knowledge and staff trained in enquiry skills. We also have a network of partners providing support to solve queries. NPALS has close relationships with Making Music, the International Association of Music Libraries, Samuel French and Nick Hern Books.




How do I close my group account?


If you wish to close your NPALS account, please inform NPALS by email via npals@nottinghamcity.gov.uk stating the name of the group account you wish to close. Please be advised that closing an account will affect ALL borrowers registered to that account.


I no longer wish to be a registered borrower, what should I do?


You can update the registered borrower information via your NPALS account, at any time. Visit ‘My account / My contact details’ to update registered borrowers. Please be aware that each account must have at least one borrower registered to it. If you are the sole registered borrower, you will need to register a new representative for your group, or close your group account (please see above).