Nottingham Performing Arts Library Service


Please note: 

The phoneline for Nottingham Performing Arts Library Service is currently down. Please ring the Radford-Lenton library (0115 915 2849) and any enquiries will be passed on. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Please note that due to flood damage at Radford-Lenton Library access to the NPALs Service is via the side door.

Sheet music

About Us

The award winning Nottingham Performing Arts Library Service (NPALS) lends multiple copies of plays, vocal scores and orchestral sets to organisations across Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derby City as well as directly to groups around the UK. The collection comprises over 24,000 drama copies, 85,000 Vocal scores and 1,300 orchestral sets.

All of the stock is listed on our online catalogues and groups order online. Reference copies are available at Radford-Lenton Library and can be viewed during open hours. It is free to register your group, hire charges are made based upon the format and length of loan. To register your music or drama organisation with NPALS please click here

If you just want to browse our stock before registering, then try using our search music or search drama buttons below, you will also find more information about our fees and charges here. 

Single copy monologues, music scores for instruments, voice and chamber music can be found on the general library catalogue and can be borrowed on a general library membership.

Contact Us


Tel: 0115 915 2869

Address: Radford-Lenton Library, Lenton Boulevard, NG7 2BY

Opening Times

Bank Holiday

Fees and charges

Hire charges

To ensure the sustainability of the NPALS and safeguard the collection for future generations, charges are applicable for this service. Additional administration charges apply to organisations in others areas of the UK outside our core areas.  Borrow unlimited times throughout the year


Music registrationFree
Small orchestral set £6 (per month)
Large orchestral set
£10 (per month)
Small vocal score copy25p (per month)
Large vocal score copy37p (per month)
Part song copy10p (per month)

Up to 15 titles on loan, at any one time and up to 15 titles on order (reserved), at any one time


Drama registrationFree
Playscript copy35p (per month)

Up to 12 titles on loan, at any one time and up to 12 titles on order (reserved), at any one time

Late return charges

Any sets or part sets outstanding 14 days after the due date will be charged a daily overdue fee of 50p per title, in the 14 days following this.

Organisations outside of Nottingham City, Nottinghamshire, Derby City, Leicester City and Leicestershire are invited to register via the login portal. NPALS kindly requests proof of identification and address, as part of the registration process. Services to organisations based in other areas of the UK are charged a 20% administrative fee, in addition to the hire fees listed above (e.g. a 2-month loan of a small orchestral set (£6), plus admin fee (20%), delivered to home address (£9 <2 kg) = (2 x £6, + £2.40, + £9 = £23). Please contact us for further information about this service.

Transfer Charges

Choose from the following collection or delivery options:

Nottingham City LibrariesFree
Inspire LibrariesFree
Home Delivery (per box <2kg£9
Home Delivery (per box <15kg)£15

Examples of standard charges

2-month loan of 40 large vocal scores (37p), collecting from an Inspire Library (free) = (2 x 40 x 37p, + 0 = £29.60)

2-month Inter Library loan (£6), of a small orchestral set (£6), delivered to home address (£9<2 kg) = (2 x £6, + £6 + £9 = £27)

2-month loan of 8 play scripts (35p) collected from NPALS (free) = (2 x 8 x 35p + 0 = £5.60)

For help and more information about our services, please see the Frequently Asked Questions and Terms and Conditions pages. Alternatively, please get in touch, if you require further support.

Terms and conditions

Terms and conditions updated 5.9.2022

  1. Registration to the service

1.1          NPALS is a service for music and drama groups based/rehearsing in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Leicester, Leicestershire, Rutland and Derby City. Groups outside these areas may join as ‘Other UK’ and borrow NPALS stock subject to an additional administration fee per set.

1.2          Sets will only be loaned to registered borrowers with an active account.  Registration to the service is free and can only be done via the online form on the NPALS website. Proof of address will be required for ‘Other UK’ groups before registration can be completed.

1.3          When registering to use the service, all groups must have a valid email address, a registration confirmation email will be sent to this address to activate the registration and from then on used to log in. Each group will have access to their own ‘My Account’ from which to order/reserve items and manage their loans.

1.4          Once a group account has been registered and activated, they will be able to order and borrow sets via the NPALS catalogue. Details of the current fees and charges can be found here.

1.5          The person who registers online for the NPALS account on behalf of a group will be the main borrower and the named responsible person for all orders, requests, and loans with NPALS.  It is the responsibility of the registered person to keep the group account details up to date.

1.6          A secondary borrower can be added to the group account so they can order, request, and pay for sets for the group.  However, the main borrower is responsible for the group account and any requests, payments, and items on loan.  The main borrower is responsible for adding or deleting secondary borrower details and keeping these up to date via their account.

  1. Ordering items from stock

2.1          All sets must be ordered online via the NPALS website a minimum of 1 month in advance.

2.2          When ordering/reserving items you must allow adequate time on your loan if you are choosing to have your orders delivered to another library or via courier, the start date is the date of dispatch not the date of arrival.  (Details of the estimated transit times are provided on the website).

2.3          Current availability of stock is displayed on the NPALS website and catalogue.

2.4          Music groups only: The minimum number of items that can be ordered for a set is 10 items (Except Orchestral Sets).

2.5          Music groups: A maximum of 15 sets can be on loan and 15 on order (reserved) by a group at any one time.

2.51       Drama Groups: A maximum of 12 sets can be on loan and 12 on order (reserved) by a group at any one time.

2.6          Once an order has been placed it will appear on the groups’ account online.

2.7          An email will be sent to the registered email address when the order is ready with full details of payment information.  Payment must be received before an order can be released and made available for collection/dispatched.

2.8          Groups can check the status of their order by logging in to the section of the NPALS website with their login details. Groups can also edit or cancel orders free of charge up to 28 days before the required from date. Cancellations within 28 days of the required from date will incur a charge (see section 4).

  1. Ordering items through Inter-Library Loans

(Only available to groups within Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Leicester, Leicestershire, Rutland and Derby City.)

3.1          If a title or the required number of copies is not available, it may be possible to obtain it from other library authorities via an Inter-Library Loan (ILL).  This service is offered at the discretion of NPALS and supply is not guaranteed (the ILL service is based upon a goodwill agreement between library authorities with no legal requirement to supply).  ILL requests can be made by completing the online request form on the NPALS website.  A minimum of 2 months’ notice must be given for ILL requests.

3.2          Enquiries regarding whether sets are stocked in other library authorities will be free of charge.  There will however be a £6 non-refundable charge for any attempt to source ILL sets or parts thereof from other library authorities which is payable whether the item is secured or not.  We will contact a maximum of five separate locations to try and secure material for an ILL.

3.21    ILL requests cancelled by the group after the loan has been agreed will be charged a 1-month loan fee, ILL requests cancelled by the group after the set has been received at NPALS, from the lending library, will be charged the full hire fee.

3.3          For ILL requests that are secured, sets will be charged at the standard rate per item for the requested loan period.

3.4          Material borrowed from other library authorities should be returned complete, and within the loan period specified.

3.5          In some circumstances items not in stock or unavailable through ILL (which are considered to be suitable), may be purchased by NPALS and added to stock.  Suggestions can be made by emailing us, but this decision will be at the sole discretion of NPALS.

  1. Cancellation of orders

4.1          Orders cancelled within 28 days of the supply date will be charged at the full loan cost for 1 month.

4.2          If ILL requests are cancelled after the set has been secured from other Library Authorities, NPALS reserves the right to charge the group the full cost for the set for a 1-month loan.

4.3          If ILL sets are cancelled after having been received at NPALS, the charge for the whole loan period will be incurred by the group.

4.4          NPALS take no responsibility for failing to supply ordered items due to any circumstances beyond their control and will not recompense for any costs incurred by registered groups in ordering items from other sources.  NPALS will however do as much as possible to ensure that all ordered items are delivered in accordance with group requests.

  1. Refunds

5.1          All refunds are at the sole discretion of NPALS but if a payment has been made and NPALS consider that a refund is owed, the amount will be refunded/credited onto the group’s account.

  1. Dispatch and delivery of items

6.1          Borrowers will select their chosen delivery option when ordering items on the website and their chosen option might have additional delivery charges attached to it.  Items will be delivered in accordance with the method and time periods of the delivery option specified.

6.2          Each loan period commences with the dispatch from NPALS to the delivery address or the date of collection from NPALS. Dispatch to a collection library/courier begins on the start date chosen.

6.3          It is the responsibility of the borrower to consider the relevant amount of time for which to request a loan if items are being delivered to another library (please see clause 2.2).

  1. Use and return of borrowed material

7.1          Borrowers must take care of all items borrowed and items must be returned in the same condition in which they were borrowed, any pencil markings should be removed carefully.

7.2          The condition and number of parts/copies in sets must be checked by the borrower on receipt and NPALS informed within 5 working days of any discrepancy with items received and items ordered.  Any missing or damaged parts not identified within this timescale will become the responsibility of the group.

7.3          All sets must be returned complete, within the specified loan time and in their original condition.  These must be returned in suitable boxes/packaging, no more than 10 kg in weight (loose sets will not be accepted), with the supplied returns label attached to the exterior.

7.4          The end of the booked loan period will be the ‘due date’ and all sets must be received back at NPALS at Radford-Lenton Library or returned to a local Nottingham/Inspire (Nottinghamshire) library for delivery back to NPALS within 14 days of the due date. Each set must be marked as returned on the group’s account as soon as possible after drop-off.

7.5          Any sets or part sets outstanding 14 days after the due date will be charged a daily overdue fee of 50p per title, in the 14 days following this.  Until notified, lost or missing copies will be identified as outstanding loans.  Any lost or missing parts should be replaced by the group with an identical edition in good condition.

7.6          If any sets or part sets are still outstanding 28 days after the due date, a replacement charge for each unreturned item will be applied to the groups account plus a standard administration charge of £6.00.

7.7          Accounts with overdue items or outstanding charges over £5, will be blocked from making further orders or requests and pending loans will not be processed until the account is clear of any outstanding charges

  1. Data Protection & Personal Information

8.1          NPALS is committed to keeping the personal details of its borrowers private and secure- information is collected and stored in accordance with UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), tailored by the Data Protection Act 2018.

8.2          Personal information for registered groups will only be used to inform groups about their accounts and only for the purpose of enabling NPALS to provide and develop its service to borrowers.  Personal information will never be shared with third parties.

8.3          Any communication to groups regarding the NPALS service will be made to the main borrower’s email address.

  1. Notification of changes

9.1          NPALS reserves the right to make changes to these terms and conditions from time to time as it sees fit.

9.2          Registered groups continuing to use the website acknowledge their acceptance and agreement to these terms and conditions and understand that any loans made using this service are made in accordance with these terms.

9.3          If there are any changes made to these terms and conditions these will be communicated to registered members and dated at the top of this document.

9.4          Pricing for the NPALS service will be reviewed on an annual basis with notification of any changes and published under fees and charges

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Can any group join?

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

UK 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 fees and charges. 

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 that will subsequently be used for login and email 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 using a library card for their local service.

How much does it cost to use NPALS?

Registration is free, and then each loan is charged pay-as-you-go (PAYG) in advance of collection/dispatch. (On 5 September 2022 Drama will move from a subscription service to PAYG, if you wish to register before 5 September please contact us

You can see full details in fees and charges.

Are there any discounts available?

We do not currently offer discounts for multiple 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 Drama catalogue and Music 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?

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

Where are you, and when are you open?

We are based in Radford-Lenton Library in Nottingham. See contact us for more details.

Is website help available?

You can contact the staff for support, during opening hours. A detailed guide to using the service is also available on request.

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. A minimum of 1 months’ notice is required. If you wish to make an order but do not have a device there are public computers available to use at Radford-Lenton Library. Public computers are free to use for library cardholders.

How far in advance can I order?

Groups can order items up to 1 year ahead (a minimum of 1 calendar months’ notice is required for NPALS stock and 2 months’ notice 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 with a minimum of two months’ notice. NPALS may also consider purchasing new titles and additional copies. Suggestions and official requests are welcome.

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?

You can extend the loan of stock items (as long as they are not already reserved) via the group account. See the service guide for more details (available on request). Renewals are a minimum of one month and do not complete until the new hire charges are paid.

To renew orders borrowed via Inter-Library loan please contact us we will need to contact the lending library first. 

How do I cancel an order?

You can amend or cancel an order online via the group account up to 4 weeks (28 days) prior to the start date. Charges will apply for cancellations made after this time (see our full terms and conditions for more details).

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

This facility is not currently available. You will need to check the availability of required items via the catalogue.

What if there is a fault with the website?  

In the event that you are concerned about a potential fault with the website please contact NPALS

We will work with Nottingham City Council IT to resolve any faults as quickly as possible.

When do I have to pay?

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 from date of the order), you will receive a request for payment by email.

How do I know how much to pay?

A list of charges is available by visiting charges and fees. 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 secure 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?

We do not currently offer discounts for multiple 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.

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

Orders will be made available/dispatched on, or before the start date of the loan selected during the ordering process. When selecting a community library for collection, please consider the transfer time of orders. Estimated transfer times are listed when you select your collection library during order submission. Orders must be paid for before they will be made available for collection/dispatch.

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

What options are there for collecting orders?

·         Collect in person at NPALS during open hours.

·         Have orders sent to any Nottingham City or Inspire Libraries (chosen at time of ordering and managed using the NPALS ‘My Account’ feature.

·         Home Delivery via courier (Courier charges will apply and are payable in advance, please see fees and charges for details)

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 ‘My 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 ‘My 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. Please estimate the number of boxes. Courier charges will be confirmed once your order has been processed at NPALS. Courier charges may differ from your estimated values, as they are based on the weight of stock being ordered. We aim to dispatch items by courier, on the next full working day (once payment has been received). Tracking information will be provided once a courier has been booked.

How do I return a set?

You can return sets:

·         In person at NPALS during open hours.

·         Via any Nottingham City or Inspire Library (please ensure all items are in sealed boxes and addressed to NPALS, before drop-off).

·        By courier, please make sure the delivery date falls on an open day, if you are having difficulties please contact us.

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 or how it was sent to you.

Are there any charges for late returns?

Fines will apply for unreturned items (whole sets or parts of sets) at 50p per title per day (not per copy), the charges start 14 days after the end of loan date.

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/courier, however, the set should still be dropped off/sent on 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, 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 it 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 order 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 ‘My 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 in to NPALS, 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 platforms and encourage groups to post their events there.

Can you help me recruit new members?

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

Can I ask NPALS to 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 staff trained to work in NPALS. 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:  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).

Sheet music resting on a piano.

Our Story

The NPALS project consolidated performing Arts resources from Nottingham City and Leicester City Libraries into one mighty collection. NPALS opened its doors on 15 January 2016. The project was devised to preserve and improve these cultural resources, make them accessible online and safeguard them from further budget cuts. We thank Rob Hunt, Graham Whatley, Lee Warner, Howard Peacock and all of our colleagues in Leicester City Libraries for their work with Performing Arts resources and for supporting NPALS.

NPALS has also evolved from the incredible collection of Music and Drama resources curated by Malcolm Lewis and Sue Slide, which was formerly based at Nottingham Central Library. We thank all of our colleagues across Nottingham City and Inspire Libraries who have collated, maintained and circulated these collections, keeping these precious resources in the public domain.

Special Events

Sign up for email alerts. News, events and more directly to your inbox.