PALA Logo designed by Aleksandra Terlik
:: May 19 2014 ::

PALA Celebrates Sir Nicholas Winton's 105th Birthday

The Polish American Librarians Association joined an international effort to pay tribute to Sir Nicholas Winton on his 105th Birthday, May 19. Born in 1909 the British humanitarian has been dubbed “the British Schindler.” In 1938, on the eve of the World War II, Winton organized the rescue of 669 mostly Jewish children from German-occupied Czechoslovakia in an operation later known as the Czech Kindertransport. He found homes for the children and arranged for their safe passage to Britain.

“This is a very awe inspiring and humbling story,” said PALA President Ron Stoch, who sent an old-fashioned birthday card, while other PALA members joined the electronic greeting.  “The children he saved created many generations that are contributing and will contribute to mankind’s betterment,” Stoch said.

Winton did not speak about his actions during the war for more than half a century until his wife found a suitcase full of documents in their attic. Today the story of this rescue is known all over the world. He was knighted by the Queen Elisabeth II and the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 583 recognizing his remarkable deed. In 2011, Winton's story was made into an inspiring film titled Nicky’s Family, a docu-drama directed by Matej Minac and now available on DVD. The New York Times called it “enthralling and evocative, a true story of heroism,” and the Huffington Post said, “Nicky’s family is not merely a commemorative portrait; it is also a call to action for young people to engage in deeds of goodness.”



Read an account of Winton’s heroic effort on Wikipedia, and help PALA celebrate this Holocaust hero by including the film in your library. Click here to watch CBS News correspondent Bob Simon interview Sir Nicholas about his heroic action.



Click here to watch a bonus segment featuring "Winton Child" Alice Masters, who shares the final gifts given to her by her parents as she boarded a train to escape the Nazis. You can also join an international effort to nominate Winton for the Nobel Peace Prize.

:: March 28 2014 ::

Senators Urged to Lift Visa Requirement for Poles

On March 18, the day of Vice President Joseph Biden’s visit to Poland, the Polish American Librarians Association board voted to urge members of the U.S. Senate to lift the visa requirement for Poles visiting the United States. During the visit, Biden assured Prime Minister Donald Tusk that America is committed to the safety of its loyal central European ally in the face of Russia’s incorporation of Crimea, and “the PALA board felt the time was right to speak up,” said board President Ron Stoch.

In a letter sent to all 50 members of the Senate, PALA stressed the injustice of the visa requirement and urged the Senate to revisit the issue and to co-sponsor or support the Visa Waiver Program Enhanced Security and Reform Act (s.223), which currently appears to be stalled in committee. PALA President Ron Stoch said, “We urge all our members and the millions of Americans of Polish descent to send similar messages to their senators and representatives in Congress.”

The PALA message reads:

“Refusing visa-free travel for Poles, despite Poland’s strong and reliable support of the United States is insulting to the millions of Americans of Polish descent. Poland is the only major democratic United States ally and European Union member to be excluded from the Visa Waiver Program. Please help us by supporting the Visa Waiver Program Enhanced Security and Reform Act. The situation in Ukraine once again has the U.S. relying on Poland for strategic support.

“Poles traveling to the United States pose no terrorist threat to America, and the visa requirement has prevented and discouraged the kind of cultural and educational exchange that is the mission of the Polish American Librarians Association. Allowing Poles to visit the United States as tourists would encourage international exchange and trade and pump tourism dollars into our economy. It is important that Poland's strong and growing educational community have the flexibility to travel easily for tourist reasons and for a limited period of time without having to apply for a visa.

“The Polish American Librarians Association urges you to co-sponsor or support the Visa Waiver Program Enhanced Security and Reform Act (s.223), which currently appears to be stalled in committee. The Visa Waiver Program Enhanced Security and Reform Act, which would open the path for Poland's entry in the Visa Waiver Program, is sponsored by Representative Mike Quigley (D-Ill), Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill) and Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). Apart from visa regulations, it also contains measures aimed at enhancing U.S. security.

“As part of the Visa Waiver Program, citizens of 36 countries would be able to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without having to apply for a visa. Poland has been excluded from the program in spite of being one of the most faithful allies, who has supported America's many worldwide initiatives, such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and lately representing America's diplomatic interests in Syria. Poland is a productive member of NATO and the European Union, and concerns about its citizens overstaying their visas and finding work in the United States are now irrelevant. As part of "Schengen Area" they are allowed a passport-free travel across borders of 25 European countries. As part of the EU, the citizens of Poland can also legally work in other EU member countries.

“Please help us eliminate this remnant of the Cold War. The visa requirement is an indignity that Poles and their Polish American relatives and friends should no longer be forced to suffer. Now is the perfect time for this gesture of goodwill to one of America’s greatest allies.”

:: March 28 2014 ::

Discussion of Karski’s Story of a Secret State Launches Polish Book Club

KarksiGroup The Polish American Librarians Association’s Third Tuesday Polish Book Club got off to a good start at Loyola University Chicago March 18, under the leadership of Loyola faculty member John Merchant. In partnership with Loyola’s Polish Studies program of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, the series of book discussions began with Story of a Secret State by Jan Karski, to mark the centennial of Karski’s birth. Discussion centered on Karski’s efforts to make the Allies aware of the atrocities being committed by the Nazis in Poland during World War II. First published in 1944, Karski’s memoir has been reissued in a revised, definitive edition by Georgetown University Press. The recently formed Jan Karski Educational Foundation hopes “to make Story of a Secret State required reading in high schools across the country,” according to President Wanda Urbanska.

Following Merchant’s outline, participants discussed various aspects of the book, including the disbelief and isolationism of the West, the Polish government in exile, the role of women in the underground, and events that led to the war. All agreed that Karski’s story is an example of the extraordinary deeds one good man can do in the face of evil. The group agreed that Karski’s story is indeed “required reading” if the world is ever to come to grips with the Holocaust.

The book club continues through February 2015 on the third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m., with discussion groups at five other Chicagoland libraries: the Polish Museum of America Library in Chicago, Prospect Heights Public Library, Wood Dale Public Library, Indian Trails Library District in Wheeling, and Eisenhower Public Library in Harwood Heights. Discussions at Indian Trails, Prospect Heights, Wood Dale, and Polish Museum of America will be in Polish and English; discussion at the Eisenhower Library will be in English. Books will be available to eligible borrowers at the participating libraries. Register on the PALA website.

THE SCHEDULE:

April 15, 2014: Wood Dale Public Library, Art Gallery Kafé. Sztukmistrz z Lublina  by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Joanna Klos, 630-766-6762 x212, jklos@wooddalelibrary.org. Polish

April 15, 2014: Polish Museum of America, Chicago. The Grasinski Girls by Mary Erdmans. Discussion Leader: Joanna Wojdon, historian from University of Wrocław, Poland and Fulbright Scholar at Loyola, 312-626-5784, jwojdon@luc.edu. English.

May 20, 2014: Indian Trails Public Library, Wheeling. Traktat o łuskaniu fasoli by Wiesław Myśliwski. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Elizabeth Marszalik, 847-279-2211, emarszalik@indiantrailslibrary.org. Polish.

June 17, 2014: Polish Museum of America Library, Chicago. Prawiek i inne czasy by Olga Tokarczuk. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Małgorzata Kot, 773-384-3352 ext. 101, malgorzata-kot@polishmuseumofamerica.org. Polish.

July 15, 2014: Indian Trails Public Library, Wheeling. Jadąc do Babadag by Andrzej Stasiuk. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Elizabeth Marszalik, 847-279-2211, emarszalik@indiantrailslibrary.org. Polish.

August 19, 2014: Eisenhower Public Library, Harwood Heights. House of Day, House of Night by Olga Tokarczuk. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Kathleen Weiss, 708-867-7828, www.eisenhowerlibrary.org. English

September 16, 2014: Indian Trails Public Library, Wheling. Ciemno prawie noc by Joanna Bator. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Elizabeth Marszalik, 847-279-2211, emarszalik@indiantrailslibrary.org. Polish.

October 21, 2014: Prospect Heights Public Library. Spuścizna  by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Aldona Salska, asalska@ phpl.info, 847- 259-3500. Polish.

November 18, 2014: Prospect Heights Public Library. Mini-wykłady o maxi-sprawach by Leszek Kołakowski. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Aldona Salska @asalskaphpl.info, 847- 259-3500. Polish.

December 16, 2014: Prospect Heights Public Library. Ferdydurke by Witold Gombrowicz. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Aldona Salska, asalska@phpl.info, 847- 259-3500. Polish.

January 20, 2015: Polish Museum of America Library, Chicago. Listy na papierze wyczerpanym by Agnieszka Osiecka and Jeremi Przybora. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Małgorzata Kot, 773-384-3352 ext. 101, malgorzata@-kotpolishmuseumofamerica.org. Polish.

PALA encourages libraries across the country to sponsor book discussion groups. For more information about how to form a “Third Tuesday” Polish Book Club or bring discussion leaders to your library, contact PALA series coordinator Leonard Kniffel at lkniffel@sbcglobal.net.

:: March 28 2014 ::

"Third Tuesday” Polish Book Club Promotes
Reading and Discussion of Great Literature

In partnership with the Polish Studies program of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Loyola University Chicago, the Polish American Librarians Association has organized the “Third Tuesday Polish Book Club,” kicking off March 18 at Loyola with a program and discussion of Story of a Secret State by Jan Karski to be led by John Merchant. The book club will meet monthly through February 2015 on the third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m., with discussion groups at five other Chicagoland libraries: the Polish Museum of America Library in Chicago, Prospect Heights Public Library, Wood Dale Public Library, Indian Trails Library District in Wheeling, and Eisenhower Public Library in Harwood Heights. Discussions at Indian Trails, Prospect Heights, Wood Dale, and Polish Museum of America will be in Polish; discussions at Loyola and the Eisenhower Library will be in English.

“Because this year is the centennial of Jan Karski’s birth, we felt that our efforts to raise awareness of Polish history and culture would benefit from the work that has been done by the recently formed Jan Karski Educational Foundation,” said PALA President Elizabeth Marszalik. “Story of a Secret State is a remarkable work, on a par with Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl, and the story of this remarkable man who risked his life to warn the Allies of the horrors of the Holocaust is the perfect kick-off for a discussion group that will raise awareness about Polish literature and history.”

Books will be available to eligible borrowers at the participating libraries. Register on the PALA website.

THE SCHEDULE:

March 18: Loyola University Chicago, Crown Center, Room 102. Story of a Secret State by Jan Karski. Discussion Leader: John Merchant, 773-508-2991, jmerchant@luc.edu. English.

April 15: Wood Dale Public Library, Art Gallery Kafe. Sztukmistrz z Lublina  by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Joanna Klos, 630-766-6762 x212, jklos@wooddalelibrary.org. Polish

April 15: Polish Museum of America, Chicago. The Grasinski Girls by Mary Erdmans. Discussion Leader: Joanna Wojdon, historian from University of Wrocław, Poland and Fulbright Scholar at Loyola, 312-626-5784, jwojdon@luc.edu. English.

May 20: Indian Trails Public Library, Wheeling. Traktat o łuskaniu fasoli by Wiesław Myśliwski. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Elizabeth Marszalik, 847-279-2211, emarszalik@indiantrailslibrary.org. Polish.

June 17: Polish Museum of America Library, Chicago. Prawiek i inne czasy by Olga Tokarczuk. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Małgorzata Kot, 773-384-3352 ext. 101, malgorzata-kot@polishmuseumofamerica.org. Polish.

  July 15: Indian Trails Public Library, Wheeling. Jadąc do Babadag by Andrzej Stasiuk. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Elizabeth Marszalik, 847-279-2211, emarszalik@indiantrailslibrary.org. Polish.

August 19: Eisenhower Public Library, Harwood Heights. House of Day, House of Night by Olga Tokarczuk. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Kathleen Weiss, 708-867-7828, www.eisenhowerlibrary.org. English

  September 16: Indian Trails Public Library, Wheling. Ciemno prawie noc by Joanna Bator. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Elizabeth Marszalik, 847-279-2211, emarszalik@indiantrailslibrary.org. Polish.

  October 21: Prospect Heights Public Library. Spuścizna  by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Aldona Salska, asalska@phpl.info, 847- 259-3500. Polish.

November 18: Prospect Heights Public Library. Mini-wykłady o maxi-sprawach by Leszek Kołakowski. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Aldona Salska asalska@phpl.info, 847- 259-3500. Polish.

December 16: Prospect Heights Public Library. Ferdydurke by Witold Gombrowicz. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Aldona Salska, asalska@phpl.info, 847- 259-3500. Polish.

January 20: Polish Museum of America Library, Chicago. Listy na papierze wyczerpanym by Agnieszka Osiecka and Jeremi Przybora. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Małgorzata Kot, 773-384-3352 ext. 101, malgorzata-kot@polishmuseumofamerica.org. Polish.

PALA encourages libraries across the country to sponsor book discussion groups. For more information about how to form a “Third Tuesday” Polish Book Club or bring discussion leaders to your library, contact PALA series coordinator Leonard Kniffel at lkniffel@sbcglobal.net.

:: Feb 28 2014 ::

ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels
Caps PALA Meeting with Sound Career Advice


“It has been my experience that being involved in professional associations is the difference between a job and a career,” said Keith Michael Fiels, keynoting the 4th Annual Meeting & Career Development Day of the Polish American Librarians Association at Loyola University Chicago’s Lake Shore Campus February 23. After offering insight into his own professional development, Fiels quipped that his approach to success involves a “secret 4-step process”: 1) Show up. 2) Offer to do something. 3) Actually do it. 4) Repeat as often as needed.

The longtime Executive Director of the American Library Association met in the morning with the board and active PALA members to discuss strategic planning and the process of affiliation with ALA, one of PALA’s goals for the year. Fiels advised the PALA board to ask, “Where would we like to see ourselves in five or ten years?” A strategic plan doesn’t necessarily show how we are going to get there, he said, but “it makes for a powerful driving force.” It is important, he noted, to keep asking, “What are we trying to accomplish?”

In the afternoon, a Q&A followed his keynote, and Fiels drew especially appreciative applause and laughter when he told the story of his first trip to Poland, where he met an eccentric cousin but missed an opportunity to meet his oldest Polish relative who had died just hours before he arrived.

During the meeting, Ron Stoch, who recently retired as Director of the Eisenhower Library in Harwood Heights, Illinois, began his year as PALA President, thanking Elizabeth Marszalik for two years of service in that capacity. “My personal goal is to affiliate PALA with ALA,” Stoch said. “Having Keith Fiels as our keynote speaker made this seem like a more achievable professional goal. His advice and support are very important for PALA.”

Kate Marek, Dean of the School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University, was on hand to present the third and final Vera May Barnes Zubrzycki Scholarship to Dominican LIS student Jamie Winchell, who said in a heartfelt acceptance speech, “When I’m a practicing school librarian, I’ll analyze the collection; do individual titles and the entire collection work together to reflect the school’s community and the complexity of human experience? As I will with all aspects of the school’s demographics, I would prioritize selection of up-to-date, accurate titles and resources that reflect Polish American experiences—and I will lean on PALA’s resources to do that.”

Bożena Nowicka McLees, Director of Interdisciplinary Polish Studies at Loyola, introduced faculty and talked about the courses and other resources available at the university. The meeting adjourned to a short tour of Loyola’s Information Commons and Cudahy Library.

Also on hand were representatives of the Panna Maria Heritage Center Foundation, which is drumming up support for the construction of a new museum and cultural center in Panna Maria, Texas, the oldest Polish settlement in the United States. Steve Harding talked about the foundation’s plans and showed the architectural design for the building.

The Annual Meeting was free to PALA members and some 80 people attended. Below you can watch Fiels’s keynote speech.


Jamie Winchell's scholarship acceptance speech is posted below.

The Polish American Librarians Association is grateful to Loyola University for providing the venue, the American Library Association for supplying the keynote speaker, to all the volunteers and members who worked hard to prepare and present the program, and to Kasia’s Deli for providing a delicious Polish buffet at a discount price.

:: Feb 28 2014 ::

Multiculturalism Makes Better School Libraries

Remarks by Jamie Winchell, Accepting the 2014 Zubrzycki Scholarship

I’ve never done anything like this before! I am so very honored to be the recipient of the 3rd and final Vera May Barnes Zubrzycki scholarship. It is a privilege to be here and to be recognized by the Polish American Librarians Association and Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science. It is so important to stay aligned and connected with the leading organizations and programs in our profession; they are touchstones for our values and orientations as librarians and librarians in-training. The process of applying for this scholarship was transformative for me. It pushed me to connect my experiences as an English teacher with my emerging career as a school librarian, and it helped me articulate why I value and will always advocate for multiculturalism in school libraries. See 2014 Zubrzycki Scholarship Winner Named

Infusing multiculturalism into my practice has been a cornerstone of my professional career. I’m back in the classroom now—teaching high school Reading—for the first time since my oldest son was born, and it has been a given to ensure that my classroom demographics and student interests are represented in our topics and titles. I know from experience that when students learn to own all that makes them unique and to recognize all that makes others different, powerful learning and a broader understanding of the world can occur.

This commitment to multiculturalism has matured and deepened because of my experiences in Dominican’s GSLIS program. From my outstanding professors, I’ve learned that each title in a collection should serve a purpose and that the role of a collection is to provide a breadth and depth of resources for all of its users. When I’m a practicing school librarian, I’ll analyze the collection: Do individual titles and the entire collection work together to reflect the school’s community and the complexity of human experience? As I will with all aspects of the school’s demographics, I will prioritize selection of up-to-date, accurate titles and resources that reflect the Polish American experience—and I will lean on PALA’s resources to do that.

Because Poles are the largest immigrant group in the greater Chicago area, chances are great that students of Polish descent will be at any school at which I am fortunate to teach. Having grown up in these suburbs and having taught in the city, this fact is humbling for me; my awareness of the Polish American experience has been sorely anemic, just as it is underrepresented in libraries. But my awareness has grown recently—by talking books with my boys’ sitter and her daughter, who are of Polish descent; at the Illinois Library Association Conference in October, listening to librarians associated with PALA talk about ethnic librarianship. Through those experiences, I have gained a vision for ways school libraries can serve Poles and Polish Americans and a better understanding of the ways in which Polish culture and experiences can deeply matter in personal and academic lives.

This summer, while I juggle teaching and parenting and regular life, this scholarship will give me the economic freedom to take only one course toward finishing my MLIS. I am so grateful to the selection committee for this great honor.

Libraries provide tools and resources that can help break down cultural and ideological barriers that too often exist between individuals and groups of people. I believe that part of my calling involves orienting students to a broader understanding of the human experience so that they can help make our world a more inclusive, accepting, and peaceful place. I feel so fortunate to be a part of PALA’s vision of promoting knowledge and understanding of people of Polish descent and of all cultures. Thank you very much.

February 23, 2014

4th PALA 2014 Annual Meeting Photos



:: Feb 23 2014 ::

“Third Tuesday” Polish Book Club Promotes Reading and Discussion of Great Literature

In partnership with the Polish Studies program of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Loyola University Chicago, the Polish American Librarians Association has organized the “Third Tuesday Polish Book Club,” kicking off March 18 at Loyola with a program and discussion of Story of a Secret State by Jan Karski to be led by John Merchant. The book club will meet monthly through February 2015 on the third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m., with discussion groups at five other Chicagoland libraries: the Polish Museum of America Library in Chicago, Prospect Heights Public Library, Wood Dale Public Library, Indian Trails Library District in Wheeling, and Eisenhower Public Library in Harwood Heights. Discussions at Indian Trails, Prospect Heights, Wood Dale, and Polish Museum of America will be in Polish and English; discussions at Loyola and the Eisenhower Library will be in English.

“Because this year is the centennial of Jan Karski’s birth, we felt that our efforts to raise awareness of Polish history and culture would benefit from the work that has been done by the recently formed Jan Karski Educational Foundation,” said PALA President Elizabeth Marszalik. “Story of a Secret State is a remarkable work, on a par with Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl, and the story of this remarkable man who risked his life to warn the Allies of the horrors of the Holocaust is the perfect kick-off for a discussion group that will raise awareness about Polish literature and history.”

Books will be available to eligible borrowers at the participating libraries. Register on the PALA website.

THE SCHEDULE:

March 18, 2014: Loyola University Chicago, Crown Center, Room 102. Story of a Secret State by Jan Karski. Discussion Leader: John Merchant, 773-508-2991, jmerchantluc.edu. English.

April 15, 2014: Wood Dale Public Library, Art Gallery Kafé. Sztukmistrz z Lublina  by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Joanna Klos, 630-766-6762 x212, jkloswooddalelibrary.org. Polish

April 15, 2014: Polish Museum of America, Chicago. The Grasinski Girls by Mary Erdmans. Discussion Leader: Joanna Wojdon, historian from University of Wrocław, Poland and Fulbright Scholar at Loyola, 312-626-5784, jwojdonluc.edu. English.

May 20, 2014: Indian Trails Public Library, Wheeling. Traktat o łuskaniu fasoli by Wiesław Myśliwski. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Elizabeth Marszalik, 847-279-2211, emarszalikindiantrailslibrary.org. Polish.

June 17, 2014: Polish Museum of America Library, Chicago. Prawiek i inne czasy by Olga Tokarczuk. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Małgorzata Kot, 773-384-3352 ext. 101, malgorzata-kotpolishmuseumofamerica.org. Polish.

July 15, 2014: Indian Trails Public Library, Wheeling. Jadąc do Babadag by Andrzej Stasiuk. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Elizabeth Marszalik, 847-279-2211, emarszalikindiantrailslibrary.org. Polish.

August 19, 2014: Eisenhower Public Library, Harwood Heights. House of Day, House of Night by Olga Tokarczuk. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Kathleen Weiss, 708-867-7828, www.eisenhowerlibrary.org. English

September 16, 2014: Indian Trails Public Library, Wheling. Ciemno prawie noc by Joanna Bator. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Elizabeth Marszalik, 847-279-2211, emarszalikindiantrailslibrary.org. Polish.

October 21, 2014: Prospect Heights Public Library. Spuścizna  by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Aldona Salska, asalska phpl.info, 847- 259-3500. Polish.

November 18, 2014: Prospect Heights Public Library. Mini-wykłady o maxi-sprawach by Leszek Kołakowski. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Aldona Salska asalskaphpl.info, 847- 259-3500. Polish.

December 16, 2014: Prospect Heights Public Library. Ferdydurke by Witold Gombrowicz. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Aldona Salska, asalskaphpl.info, 847- 259-3500. Polish.

January 20, 2015: Polish Museum of America Library, Chicago. Listy na papierze wyczerpanym by Agnieszka Osiecka and Jeremi Przybora. Discussion Leader and Librarian Contact: Małgorzata Kot, 773-384-3352 ext. 101, malgorzata-kotpolishmuseumofamerica.org. Polish.

PALA encourages libraries across the country to sponsor book discussion groups. For more information about how to form a “Third Tuesday” Polish Book Club or bring discussion leaders to your library, contact PALA series coordinator Leonard Kniffel at lkniffelsbcglobal.net.

:: Feb 10 2014 ::

New Board Elected, Director Appointed
All to Assume Posts at February Annual Meeting

Ron Stoch, retired director of the Eisenhower Public Library in Harwood Heights, Illinois, will assume his new post as 2014 President of the Polish American Librarians Association February 23 at the group’s Annual Meeting and Career Development Day at Loyola University. Stoch has served two years as PALA Vice President/President Elect and has been a member of the organization since a year after it was established in 2010.

“My goal as PALA President is to implement a long-range plan that includes affiliation with the American Library Association,” says Stoch. “We need to achieve two goals: First, to have a PALA member in each state recruiting new members in that state and second to convince those new members to volunteer their time to PALA in order to make PALA plans achievable."

“We are a member driven organization," says Stoch, which means that if you join you can be actively participating and working in an organization to promote Polish language and culture through a library setting." Stoch served as director of Eisenhower Library for 34 years. Under his leadership, the library started the Polish Language collection; participated with the Warsaw Public Library in Poland for four years sending our students to Warsaw and Warsaw students to Chicago, and always having Eisenhwoer PLD on the cutting edge of technology in the current library built in 2008.

Also elected to the PALA board as officers: Joanna Klos, Assistant Director at the Wood Dale (Ill.) Public Library, who will serve as Vice President/President- Elect; Pamela Cipkowski, Cataloging Librarian at the Law Library of Loyola University Chicago, who will serve as Secretary; and Malgorzata Bylinska, Cataloging Supervisor at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, who will serve as Treasurer.

Elected as Directors at Large: Grazyna Krzycka-Langguth, Project Manager for the American Dental Association’s Department of Library and Archives; Kenneth Gill, retired teacher and librarian from Chicago Public Schools; Eisele Jill, Children’s Librarian at Glen Ellyn Public Library and recent MLIS graduate from Dominican University; Maria Holowinska, retired director from Wojewódzka i Miejska Biblioteka Publiczna in Zielona Góra, Poland; and Aldona Salska, World Languages Librarian at Prospect Heights (Ill.) Public Library District and founding president of PALA. Elizabeth Marszalik, Head of Materials Services at Indian Trails Library District in Wheeling, Illinois, will remain on the board as Immediate Past President.

In addition, Leonard Kniffel, writer and former editor of American Libraries magazine for the American Library Association, will remain on the board as an ad hoc member in his new role as PALA Executive Director. The board appointed Kniffel after bylaws changes that established the post and reduced the presidential term to one year. Other bylaws changes approved by the membership in the 2014 election included the addition of more specific language for the purpose of qualifying PALA as a tax exempt organization under section 501 (c)(3) of the U.S. tax code.

“Having an Executive Director will help move the Association forward, especially with regard to our goal of affiliating with the American Library Association,” said President Marszalik. “Leonard has been doing a lot of work for the Association behind the scenes, and we wanted him to have more authority and an official role in representing PALA as we move forward with our goals and our partnerships with related organizations.” Marszalik added that “like all board positions, the Executive Director position is volunteer, and we are grateful to Leonard for accepting this challenge. He has the skills that we need, and his enthusiasm for our mission inexhaustible”

:: Jan 11 2014 ::

Annual Meeting & Career Development Day

Join Us! POLISH AMERICAN LIBRARIANS ASSOCIATION

RSVP by e-mail: secretarypalalib.org or register online HERE

[download in PDF format]


:: Sept 10 2013 ::

All Polonia Reads to Kids - Cała Polonia Czyta Dzieciom at the Indian Trails Library District

- Celebrating the Polish American Heritage Month -

Downlad PDF Prezentacja dla Rodziców Wychowanie przez Czytanie - (download PDF)
Stuart Dybek


:: May 14 2013 ::

Polish American Librarians Association Networking Dinner

Join us!
POLISH AMERICAN LIBRARIANS ASSOCIATION

Networking Dinner

Date:
June 30, 2013, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Location:
Szalas Restaurant, 5214 S Archer Ave.Chicago, Illinois
Tel: 773-582-0300
www.szalasrestaurant.com
Advanced registration and payment of $20 is required.
Please register online at PALA website
Registration deadline: June 15, 2013


Click HERE to complete the registration.


:: Feb 27 2013 ::

3rd Annual Meeting and Open House 2013

Stuart Dybek More than 85 librarians and library supporters, some from as far away as Texas and Florida, gathered at the Polish Museum of America (PMA) in Chicago February 24 for an afternoon of networking, brainstorming, and programs. Keynote speaker Stuart Dybek, award-winning Polish American author and poet, provided the highpoint of the proceedings with stories about his reverence for libraries, calling them "sacred places" that are at the center of a writer's life. "My library card was like a passport that could be stamped over and over again on my journey to becoming a Polish-American," he said.

Katie Clausen, library school student from Dominican University, received the 2013 Vera May Barnes Zubrzycki Scholarship (read more here), and her heartfelt acceptance demonstrated why she was chosen, as she spoke about cultural diversity in libraries. Susan Roman, dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican, and Michael Zubrzycki, scholarship donor for whose mother it is named, were on hand to present the award of $2,300.

Project coordinator Barbara Bilszta spoke about "All of Polonia Reads to Kids" and screened a film showing how well the reading initiative has taken off in Poland, and she urged Polish American librarians to participate. Following her talk, the young people of the Academy of Music of Paderewski Symphony Orchestra and Little Stars entertained with lively performances of classical and popular tunes.

PALA president Elizabeth Marszalik and PMA president Maria Ciesla welcomed the group, and Konrad Zielinski from the Polish Consulate in Chicago said he looked forward to working with PALA on future projects. PALA board member Leonard Kniffel talked about PALA's connection to the Jan Karski Educational Foundation, which was launched in 2012. Malgorzata Kot, PMA head librarian, served as emcee and conducted a tour of the museum library, one of the largest of its kind in the world, following the program.

:: January 19 2012 ::

2nd Annual Meeting and Open House 2012


Some 70 library professionals assembled February 19 at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago for the second Annual Meeting & Open House of the Polish American Librarians Association.

The afternoon of networking and discussion included a keynote speech by Polish-American author Brigid Pasulka (A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True), a performance by the children’s Polish song and dance ensemble Lajkonik, and awarding of the first Vera May Barnes Zubrzycki Scholarship to Melissa Lambert, a student in the Graduate Schoool of Library and Information Science at Dominican University.

There to present the award were donors Michael and Christine Zubrzycki and Susan Roman, dean of the Dominican GSLIS. Aldona Salska, founding president of the two-year-old PALA, presided over the meeting and passed the gavel to newly elected president Elizabeth Marszalik.

:: 20 February 2011 ::

First Annual Meeting - Open House


The First Annual Meeting of PALA: Our Open House with about 100 attendees,
many of whom are pictured below, was a gratifying success.

First Annual Meeting - Open House

We especially want to thank the following organizations and people who did so much to help us:

Principal Sponsors:
Polish Museum of America http://www.polishmuseumofamerica.org
Kasia's Deli http://www.kasiasdeli.com
Polish Song and Dance Ensemble "Lajkonik" of the Holy Trinity Polish Mission

Principal Partners:
Stowarzyszenie Bibliotekarzy Polskich http://www.sbp.pl
Polish Consulate General in Chicago http://www.polishconsulatechicago.org
Polonia Bookstore http://www.polonia.com
D&Z Bookstore http://www.domksiazki.com
Aquila Polonica Publishing http://www.polandww2.com

Special Guests:
  • Maria Ciesla, President of The Polish Museum of America
  • Joseph A. Drobot, Jr. - President of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America / Chairman of the Board of The Polish Museum of America
  • Aleksandra Krystek, Viceconsul of the Polish Consulate General in Chicago
  • James Pula, Polish American Historical Association / Purdue University North Central in Westville, IN
  • Andrzej Zgiet, President of the Polish Immigration Association
  • Jolanta Bogiel-Pasek, designer of the PALA logo
  • Halina Misterka, Archivist, The Polish Museum of America / Artistic Director and Choreographer of the Polish Song and Dance Ensemble "Lajkonik"


On the occasion of the First Annual Meeting, PALA received a letter from Elzbieta Stefanczyk, Przewodniczacej Stowarzyszenia Bibliotekarzy Polskich (President of the Polish Librarians Association).

Downlad PDF A letter from Elzbieta Stefanczyk

On the behalf of the Board of Directors of the Polish Librarians Association, I congratulate you on the occasion of the first Annual Meeting of the Polish American Librarians Association, and praise all the members of PALA for your success and achievements in the development and spread of knowledge, and participation in cultural life.
Each Annual Meeting is a great event. It is also an occasion to evaluate achievements and determine new goals and tasks. Let this exceptional time be also a stimulus for further activity.
Please accept our assurance that the Polish Librarians Association wishes to maintain our good relationship with PALA, as well as exchange expertise, knowledge and ideas for the implementation of projects you undertake.
On the occasion of the First Annual meeting, I wish all the members of the board of PALA continued professional successes, wide vision for development, perseverance in the realization of tasks, as well as lots of happiness and prosperity in your personal lives. Let each subsequent year bring your Association new achievements for its board of directors and, for all our countrymen, abundant fulfillment in our professional live and private lives. All the Best.

With the words of respect
President of Polish Librarians Association
Elzbieta Stefanczyk

:: Jan 27 2014 ::

You Don’t Have to Be Polish to Benefit from PALA’s Annual Meeting & Career Development Day

The Polish American Librarians Association’s 4th Annual Meeting, February 23, 2014, offers a rare opportunity to network in a small-group setting with colleagues from around the country along with top professional leaders. This year’s meeting is set for Loyola University Chicago’s Lake Shore Campus and will showcase Loyola’s Polish Studies Program and the Information Commons and Cudahy Library with emphasis on the Polish Collection.

American Library Association Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels will deliver the keynote address and talk about "A Spectacular Career and How to Have One!" One of the profession’s top leaders, Fiels will draw on his experience as ED of ALA as well as his savvy in working with government as state librarian of Massachusetts. In addition to delivering the keynote, Fiels will also participate in an informal discussion about the importance of professional engagement to your career.

"PALA members have indicated that the most valuable part of the Annual Meeting is the opportunity to network with other library professionals who can help them achieve their career goals," said PALA President Elizabeth Marszalik. "With that aim in mind, we are meeting this year at Loyola, where Bożena Nowicka McLees, Director of Interdisciplinary Polish Studies, will also be on the program to talk about the valuable courses and other resources available at Loyola. McLees will also offer attendees a behind-the-scenes look at the Information Commons and Cudahy library, with emphasis on the Polish Collection.

"This year’s event promises to be especially important for mid-career professionals and for students, even those who may not have even thought about a career as a librarian," said Marszalik. "If information technology turns you on, and if you love to work with diverse communities, this opportunity is for you."

The Annual Meeting is free to PALA members and offers a complimentary buffet luncheon as well. (A $10 donation from nonmembers would be appreciated.) Annual Membership in the Polish American Librarians Association is $25. RSVP to secretarypalalib.org
Click HERE to complete the registration.


The meeting will take place in the Crown Center Auditorium in the northeast corner of Loyola University’s Lake Shore Campus at 1001 West Loyola Avenue in Chicago. Visit the Loyola website for a campus map and directions. There is parking on campus P1 for $7 or street parking on Loyola Avenue east of Sheridan Road. The campus is located near the Loyola stop on the CTA red line.


Detailed schedule of events:

11:00-Noon "The Power of Professional Associations," Membership Meeting & Goals Discussion with PALA Board, Keith Michael Fiels, Bożena Nowicka McLees, and incoming PALA President Ron Stoch presiding

Noon-1:00 Complimentary Polish Luncheon Buffet and Informal Networking

1:00-1:30 Welcome to Loyola, Bożena McLees, Director of Interdisciplinary Polish Studies Getting to Know PALA, with Incoming President Ron Stoch Presentation of Third & Final Vera May Barnes Zubrzycki Scholarship

1:30-2:30 "A Spectacular Career and How to Have One," Keynote Address by Keith Michael Fiels, Executive Director, American Library Association, followed by Q&A and launch of "Third Tuesday" Polish Book Club at Loyola, Chicago Area Libraries, Polish Museum of America

2:30-2:45 BREAK

2:45-4:00 Introduction to Loyola Polish Studies Program, tour of Information Commons and Cudahy Library

The mission of the Polish American Librarians Association is to positively impact services provided to library patrons of Polish descent and individuals interested in Polish culture. In addition, PALA is dedicated to helping libraries maintain high-quality collections that reflect the diversity of their communities and in attracting new library and information technology professionals to America’s libraries.




Sun
:: Jan 23 2014 ::

ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels to Keynote PALA Annual Meeting and Career Development Day

American Library Association Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels will deliver the keynote address at the Polish American Librarians Association’s 4th Annual Meeting, February 23, 2014, at Loyola University’s Lake Shore Campus in Chicago. Fiels will talk about "A Spectacular Career and How to Have One!" As one of the library profession’s top leaders, Fiels will draw on his experience as executive director of the world’s oldest and largest organization of library professionals, as well as his savvy in working with government as state librarian of Massachusetts. In addition to delivering the keynote, Fiels will also participate in informal discussion about the importance of professional engagement to your career.

Fiels earned a BA and an MLS from the State University of New York at Buffalo and did advanced studies at the University of Denver. Before coming to ALA in 2002, he served as director of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, the state’s top library position. He has also worked as a public and school librarian and as an independent library consultant and has served as president of Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, as the director of a library network, and as a staff consultant for the New York and New Jersey State Libraries. Fiels is the recipient of the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies Leadership Achievement Award and a Library Public Relations Council Award. He was named to the ALA Association for Library Trustees and Advocates National Advocacy Honor Roll in 2002 and the Massachusetts Library Association Hall of Fame in 2004.

The PALA meeting offers a rare opportunity to network in a small-group setting with colleagues from around the country along with top professional leaders. The meeting will showcase Loyola’s Polish Studies Department and the university’s Information Commons and Cudahy Library, with emphasis on the Polish Collection. The Annual Meeting and Career Development Day is free to PALA members and offers a complimentary buffet luncheon as well. (A $10 donation from nonmembers would be appreciated.) Annual Membership in the Polish American Librarians Association is $25. RSVP to secretarypalalib.org or register on the PALA website.

The meeting will take place in the Crown Center Auditorium in the northeast corner of Loyola University’s Lake Shore Campus at 1001 West Loyola Avenue in Chicago. Visit the Loyola website for a campus map and directions. There is parking on campus P1 for $7 or street parking on Loyola Avenue east of Sheridan Road. The campus is located near the Loyola stop on the CTA red line.

See the PALA general news release for more details and a schedule of events.


:: Nov 10 2013 ::

Polish Film Festival Continues with PALA-Sponsored Screening of "Baczyński"

IFLA in Singapore Polish American Librarians Association members will be on hand Friday, November 15, at 7 p.m. to host a special screening of Baczyński at Facets Cinematheque, 1517 West Fullerton in Chicago during the 25th Polish Film Festival in America. The film is a docu-drama about the life of Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński, one of Poland's best known poets, even though he died at the age of 23 on the fourth day of the tragic Warsaw Uprising in 1944. PALA will introduce the film and conduct a Q&A with its director, Kordian Piwowarski, and his wife, Anna Piwowarski, major translator of Baczyński's work into English.

"PALA signed on as a festival sponsor to encourage librarians who serve Polish speakers and the Polish American community to learn not only about Polish history but about the wealth of creative film work being produced in Poland today," said board member Leonard Kniffel, who will conduct the Q&A. "Baczyński is a hero in Poland but little known outside his native land. This is an opportunity for PALA and the film festival to help American librarians learn more about materials that are available for inclusion in their libraries' film and book collections."

Little known in America, Baczyński has become something of a myth in Poland—the personification of a whole generation that died fighting for their freedom. His poetry became Poland's most poignant and subjective testimony of wartime. "Baczyński" caused controversy upon its release in Poland earlier this year due to its unique form and use of poetry as a documentary device. The film examines Baczyński's motivation for becoming a soldier, the inspiration for his metaphysical poetry, and the prophecy of his own death. Combining recollections of the few remaining war veterans who fought with him, dramatized scenes, and interpretations of his poetry by today's 'slam' poets, "Baczyński" is a film that resists conventional film classification to provide an experience that is as personal and varied as reading one of his poems.

Also featured at the November 15 event will be the short film The Big Leap, a darkly comic tale of faith in God—or lack of it—directed by Kristoffer Rus.

The Polish Film Festival in America, the largest Polish film festival in the world outside of Poland, continues through November 24 at three venues–Rosemont, Facets, and the Gallery Theater at the Society for Arts on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. Consult the PFFA website for details and a schedule of screenings.

:: Oct 25 2013 ::

Service to Immigrant Communities Explored in Illinois Conference Program


Three Polish American Librarians Association board members presented a program titled "Making Libraries Appealing to Immigrant Communities: The Potential for Ethnic Librarians" at the Illinois Library Association's 2013 annual conference, held October 15-17 at Navy Pier in Chicago. The theme of the conference was "Ignite!"

"We were very pleased that on the morning of Wednesday, October 16, we got quite a large audience, almost a full room, which ensured us of the need of our efforts and motivated us to continue our work," said PALA President Elizabeth Marszalik, who was one of the presenters. She talked about how the Indian Trails Library District in Illinois serves its large immigrant community, noting that 40.6% of Wheeling, 41.8% of Prospect Heights, and 25.7% of Buffalo Grove residents are foreign-born. The percentage of people who speak a language other than English at home is even higher--56.4 % in Wheeling, 59.1% in Prospect Heights, and 32% in Buffalo Grove, she noted. "Polish immigrants and Polish-Americans constitute a significant part of this community," she observed. "In addition to statistics I shared the less known facts that many immigrants own property and local businesses; they pay taxes, which fund local schools, parks, and libraries, and they deserve adequate attention and services," Marszalik added. "I feel very fortunate to work at a library in which the collection, services, and staffing reflect its community."

Joanna Klos opened the program with a brief introduction of all speakers, noting that "although all of us represent different areas of the library organization, we have joined together today to present to you how we serve our immigrant communities."

Aldona Salska focused her part of the presentation on PALA and ethnic librarianship. "My goal was to show specifically what PALA is doing to positively impact services for Polish patrons and highlight PALA's leadership in a dialogue among ethnic librarians associations to encourage these associations to better serve librarianship in this country," she said.

Salska began her presentation by saying that one of PALA's goals is to help librarians in charge of Polish collections make the collections more interesting and respected. "I described the guidelines for selecting Polish materials that are posted on our website; then I talked about Polish programs, specifically programs in Polish for children and adults that can be adopted even at libraries at which none of the staff speaks Polish," Salska said. "The program for children is 'Polish Story Time,' and it targets children 2-6 year-olds and is run by a group of Polish mothers--all volunteers." The program's goal, she said is "to familiarize Polish children born in the U.S. with Polish children's literature and traditional children's games and songs, and in the process, to build community among Polish families. To launch this program, my task as a librarian, was to organize a group of Polish mothers and give them guidelines for the program that I developed," she added.  These guidelines are posted on the PALA website along with guidelines for program a Polish Book Club for adults, "Polski dyskusyjny klub książki." "All that is needed to run this program at any library is a Polish-speaking volunteer who would follow this guideline," said Salska, concluding her presentation by proposing concrete steps to expand these activities "so that many more libraries serving linguistically diversified populations can benefit from them." Step one, she suggested is to organize a network of ethnic librarians under the umbrella of ILA or Reaching Across Illinois Library System.

Marszalik also talked about world language collection development and cataloging and the importance of "applying the same priorities for world language materials as we have for English language materials." She ended the program with a brief discussion of her outreach programs at the Indian Trails Library District, highlighting the successful "All of Polonia Reads to Kids" and encouraging audience to host such event at their libraries.

:: Oct 25 2013 ::

PALA Signs on as Polish Film Festival Co-Sponsor


The Polish American Librarians Association has signed on as a co-sponsor of the 25th Polish Film Festival in America, one of the country's premier film events, which will take place November 8-24, 2013. In three cinematic venues in Chicagoland, some 70 feature, documentary, and animated films made by Polish filmmakers will be presented, most of them with English subtitles. As part of the sponsorship, PALA will host a screening of Miłosz on November 20 at 7 p.m. at the Gallery Theatre, Society for Arts, 1112 North Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. Miłosz is a new documentary about Nobel Prize--winning Polish writer Czesław Miłosz.

"The Polish Film Festival in America is an invaluable tool for librarians who serve Polish-speaking populations and want to acquire the best of the best films for their collections," says PALA President Elizabeth Marszalik. "This sponsorship opportunity will raise the visibility of Polish American librarians and library patrons as an important market for these films. The programs from the festivals are golden bibliographies of Polish film output during the last quarter century."

"Festival co-sponsorship entitles PALA to be listed in the festival program book and to distribute organizational materials during the events," says Marszalik. "It is also important for librarians to build relationships with organizations that produce reliable collection building aids. We hope PALA will be able to partner with many not-for-profit cultural organizations that can help us with our awareness-raising mission."

A complete schedule of screenings and special events is available on the festival website, which also features a store where numerous classic and contemporary Polish films may be purchased on DVD.

:: Oct 9 2013 ::

"All of Polonia Reads to Kids" Draws 100 to Indian Trails Library


The Indian Trails Library District in Illinois hosted a successful "All of Polonia Reads to Kids," program October 6. Conducted entirely in Polish and designed to encourage parents and children of the Polish diaspora to read, the day's events filled the library's 100-person auditorium to capacity.

"The audience participated actively in the program and expressed the need and desire for more programs like this," said Elizabeth Marszalik, head of materials services for the library district and president of the Polish American Librarians Association. "The interest and attendance really exceeded my expectations," she said.

Reporters from Polish media attended the event. Excellent coverage with lively photos appeared in FaktyChicago.com and Dziennik Związkowy.

Co-sponsored by the All of Poland Reads to Kids Foundation and PALA, the project was co-financed with funds from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Indian Trails Library District serves Wheeling, Buffalo Grove, Prospect Heights, Arlington Heights, and Northbrook, and area where a large Polish population resides.

:: SEP 27 2013 ::

Indian Trails Library in Illinois Selected to Host "All of Polonia Reads to Kids" Campaign October 6

IFLA in Singapore The Indian Trails Library District in Illinois has been selected as the only U.S. public library to host "All of Polonia Reads to Kids," an October 6 program designed to encourage children of the Polish diaspora to read. Polish American Librarians Association President Elizabeth Marszalik is head of material services at the library and was instrumental in bringing the reading campaign to the U.S. PALA unveiled the program at its 2013 Annual Meeting in February at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago and is cosponsoring the event, which will include a discussion on the value of reading aloud to children in Polish, a Little Stars Theatre Workshop performance under the direction of Agata Paleczny, a raffle, a used book sale, and refreshments, donated by Krystyna's Deli in Wheeling. The event is free and will be conducted entirely in Polish.

The library became involved in the event through the efforts of Marszalik, who emigrated from Poland in 1994. She participated in the project's training that lasted for six months. Marszalik earned her degree in library science in Poland in 1987 and in the U.S. in 2005, and has been with the Indian Trails Library District since 2001. "All of Polonia Reads to Kids is a wonderful program as it promotes reading regularly to children of all ages. We believe it is important to encourage English reading skills while maintaining native literacy skills. This is just one way the library is meeting the needs of the Polish community in our area," Marszalik says.

IFLA in Singapore "Several Polish schools are also participating in this pilot project for this year, says Marszalik, "and my goal is to expand this program to other libraries serving Polish communities." Marszalik is the U.S. coordinator of the All Polonia Reads to Kids for librarians and with Aldona Salska and Joanna Klos is planning a presentation "Making Libraries Appealing to Immigrant Communities" for the Illinois Library Association's annual conference in Chicago.

"My idea is to do this program on a larger scale, hopefully at various libraries and other venues in the Chicago metro area next year on June 1, when the campaign is also taking place in Poland," Marszalik notes. "At many libraries that also serve large Polish and Hispanic populations, this can be also tied in with "El dia de los ninos/El dia de los libros" and followed up with a multicultural/multilingual summer reading game."

The free event will take place Sunday, October 6, 1-3 p.m., at the library, 355 Schoenbeck Rd., Wheeling, Illinois. Registration is requested at www.indiantrailslibrary.org or 847-279-2232. Co-sponsored by the All of Poland Reads to Kids Foundation and PALA, the project is co-financed with funds from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Over 60 persons from educational institutions and organizations from nine countries were invited to participate in the project. The Indian Trails Library District serves 67,000 residents in the Wheeling, Buffalo Grove, Prospect Heights, Arlington Heights, and Northbrook communities by providing programs, services and resources that enrich and engage the community.

:: AUG 27 2013 ::

Polish Librarians at IFLA in Singapore Strategize for Visibility Next Year in Lyon


Polish librarians were there when the 79th World Library and Information Congress of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (commonly known as IFLA) met August 17-23 in Singapore. Themed "Future Libraries: Infinite Possibilities," the conference gave Polish and Polish American librarians an opportunity to meet and talk about the "infinite possibility" of greater engagement on both sides of the ocean in IFLA, arguably the world's foremost international library organization.

Polish American Librarians Association board member Leonard Kniffel, who was in Singapore reporting for American Libraries magazine, met with fellow PALA members Ewa Barczyk of the University of Wisconsin and Krystyna Matusiak of the University of Denver, and with Mikołaj Baliszewski, Monika Mitera, and Katarzyna Ślaska of the National Library of Poland, as well as Elżbieta Zybert of the University of Warsaw.

Harkening back to the Singapore congress theme, Kniffel said, "The 'infinite possibility' that I envision is to see IFLA in Poland! To make that a reality, however, Polish and Polish American librarians must increase our visibility and activity in the federation." Since IFLA conferences rotate from continent to continent, Poland would no doubt face tough competition for slots in 2017 or 2019 when IFLA is next scheduled to hold the WLIC in Europe.

The delegates agreed to organize a meeting to coincide with the next IFLA congress, which is scheduled for August 16-22 in Lyon, France. "We will be working with French National Committee Project Manager Etienne Mackiewicz and others within IFLA to work out the appropriate timing and venue," Kniffel said.

'We have an opportunity to make a positive impact on the way Polish history and culture are represented in library collections and programs not just in the U.S. but around the world," said Elizabeth Marszalik, PALA president, in Chicago. "A conference in France gives us an opportunity to showcase the rich history of Polish expatriates in Paris—from Chopin to Curie to Miłosz—and to shine a spotlight on the underappreciated Polish Library in Paris and raise awareness about how the Polish diaspora resulted in Polish communities and therefore Polish libraries across the globe."

During their brainstorming sessions, the IFLA delegates agreed that PALA could do more to promote Polish libraries and their achievements by writing about them. Barczyk noted that "we spend a lot of time talking to ourselves instead of to the profession and the public." Zybert suggested that PALA offer specific project suggestions matched to the skills and talents of specific members. For example, English professional terms are often hard to translate. "We could use an English-Polish glossary of professional terms. For example, how do you translate 'sustainable libraries"? Another thing that would be useful to librarians serving Polish populations, Matusiak suggested, is better promotion of scholarships available to Polish American students, a listing of which is maintained by the Polish American Congress.

Barczyk was one of 115 IFLA attendees who presented at the Poster Sessions. Her presentation was titled "International Collaborative Internships between Taiwan and the United States: New Opportunities for Librarians in Advancing Global Understanding." Zybert, Mitera, and Kniffel were among the 20 delegates who took the "Changi in World War II" tour of Singapore and visited the Changi Museum in the area of the city where Australian and other British prisoners of war were held captive and up to 50,000 Chinese civilians were massacred during the Japanese Occupation. Numerous parallels were evident between the suffering in Singapore and the Holocaust in Europe, where the Nazis' made Poland their killing field.

Poland sent eight delegates to IFLA; in addition to the four mentioned above, Andrzej Dziubecki and Agata Sokolowska of the Chancellery of the Senate of the Republic of Poland, Wojciech Kulisiewicz of the Kancelaria Sejmu, and Grazyna Federowicz of the National Library also attended the congress in Singapore.

The mission of the Polish American Librarians Association is to positively impact services provided to library patrons of Polish descent and individuals interested in Polish culture. You do not have to be Polish or a librarian or an American to join; you need only share the belief that the rich culture and complex history of the Polish people deserve to be represented and represented accurately in library collections around the world.
IFLA in Singapore IFLA in Singapore IFLA in Singapore
IFLA delegates on the beach IFLA 2013, Polish Connection (from left, Krystyna Matusiak, Elżbieta Zybert, Eva Barczyk and Leonard Kniffel) Polish IFLA delegates Mikołaj Baliszewski, Monika Mitera, Katarzyna Slancka
:: AUG 16 2013 ::

Visit to National Library of Poland


On June 6, 2013 two PALA board members, Elizabeth Marszalik, president and Małgorzata Kot, board member, visited the National Library of Poland and met with Elżbieta Stefańczyk, president of the Polish Librarians Association, and Marzena Przybysz, secretary, to discuss past and future cooperation and mutual support.

The visit also included a behind the scene tour of recently renovated National Library of Poland's main building and special collection of manuscripts and old prints at the Krasinski Palace. This experience was possible thanks to two wonderful librarians: Mariola Nałęcz, head of Music Collection Department, and Aleksandra Kujawa-Eberharter, head of Special Collections Department.

PALA representatives were also able to meet briefly with National Library vice-director Mikołaj Baliszewski.

Each host gave them the opportunity to understand their special programs and ensured the PALA of their willingness to continue cooperation. PALA is extremely thankful for their time and support. As a result of these visits, we hope new ways of cooperation will be possible in the future.



:: Jul 13 2013 ::

PALA at ALA: Collections and Connections


Members of the Polish American Librarians Association sang "Sto Lat" at least twice during the American Library Association's Annual Conference June 28-July 1 in Chicago. The traditional Polish birthday wish "May you live 100 years" went out to PALA President Elizabeth Marszalik at Podhalanka restaurant during the "Taste of the Town" bus trip that included a visit to Chicago's Polish Triangle, a tour of the Polish Museum of America and the PMA Library, and a traditional Polish meal served family style.

"Twenty-one people joined us for the field trip," said Marszalik who celebrated her birthday during the conference. "We were really pleased with the turn-out, and it was especially gratifying to see so many people who were not Polish and not from Chicago getting a glimpse at the city's Polish community." Cosponsored by the Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table, the three-hour tour left conference attendees hoping for more cultural community tours at future conferences.

Back at McCormick Place, Leonard Kniffel and other members of the PALA board—Elizabeth Marszalik, Ron Stoch, Joanna Klos, Rafal Kasprowski, Gosia Bylinska, Malgorzata Kot (head librarian of the library at the Polish Museum), and founding PALA president Aldona Salska staffed the PALA booth in the exhibition hall, where hundreds of people stopped to meet a Polish American author, check out the recent books on display, scoop up a piece of Polish candy and a PALA pen, or sign up for membership. "We need 100 members over a period of four years to apply for affiliation with ALA," said Stoch, "and the booth at ALA brought us a lot closer to our goal and really helped raise awareness of the way Polish history and culture is represented—or in too many cases not represented—in library collections and school curricula."

Guest authors appearing in the booth were Brigid Pasulka, James Conroyd Martin, Linda Nemec Foster, Wesley Adamczyk, and Karen Kovacik along with filmmakers Ruth Leitman and Steve Dixon and publisher Sandra Novacek. PALA partnered with the Jan Karski Educational Foundation and Georgetown University Press to raffle off five copies of the new and definitive editions of Karski's classic memoir Story of a Secret State. The winners were: Neil A. Chase, special collections coordinator for Western Michigan University Libraries in Kalamazoo; Cynthia Czesak, director of the Paterson Free Public Library in New Jersey; Ewa Jankowska, director of the Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System in Plattsburgh, New York; Christine Kujawa, assistant director of the Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library in North Dakota; and Paulina Poplawska, assistant director of the Liberal Memorial Library in Liberal, Kansas.

The ALA conference attracted some 26,000 librarians and library supporters, and the novelty of a Polish booth attracted attention in the local media, prompting reporter Christopher Borelli to observe in a Chicago Tribune conference report titled "Hipsters, librarians check each other out" that World Book encyclopedia, McSweeney's, and the Polish American Librarian Association were among the diverse booths trying to attract attention—and apparently succeeding!

More photos from PALA at ALA on PALA Facebook group page:



:: Apr 26 2013 ::

Aldona Salska Represents PALA at Karski Book Celebration

Georgetown University hosted a tribute to Jan Karski March 18 in Washington, D.C., celebrating the publication of the new U.S. edition of his 1944 classic Story of a Secret State by Georgetown University Press. A distinguished panel of experts including former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, Polish Ambassador Ryszard Schnepf, and Rabbi Harold S. White, formerly Senior Jewish Chaplain at Georgetown University's Campus Ministry, discussed Karski's legacy. Aldona Salska, board member and founding president of the Polish American Librarians Association, represented PALA at the event.

"It was an incredible experience," Salska said, "to listen to Brzezinski and Albright and Rabbi White and to hear their reflections on moral choice, on the difference between Karski and the majority of us who hide ourselves behind indifference." Many of the guests knew Karski, Salska noted, including Brzezinski, who was 11 years old when he met him during the war and heard for first time heard about what Nazi Germany was doing in Poland. "Karski truly is 'humanity's hero,' as he has been called, and his achievement during the Second World War cries out for wider recognition," Salska noted.

Wanda Urbanska, president of the Jan Karski Educational Foundation talked about the new edition of Karski's book and about what young people can learn from it. The Foundation is attempting to bring Karksi's story to the public school curriculum, in much the same way that Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl has become essential for young readers. "The foundation's educational objectives are very much in line with the mission of the Polish American Librarians Association," Salska said. "The audience was asked to think about what we can do today, about how we can pay tribute to Karski and his heroism."

Read more about the event on the Jan Karski Educational Foundation website.
A video of the entire program can be seen on the Georgetown University website.

:: Feb 27 2013 ::

Polish American Librarians Open House 2013

Libraries Are "Sacred Places" Says Author Stuart Dybek at Polish American Librarians Open House

Stuart Dybek More than 85 librarians and library supporters, some from as far away as Texas and Florida, gathered at the Polish Museum of America (PMA) in Chicago February 24 for an afternoon of networking, brainstorming, and programs. Keynote speaker Stuart Dybek, award-winning Polish American author and poet, provided the highpoint of the proceedings with stories about his reverence for libraries, calling them "sacred places" that are at the center of a writer's life. "My library card was like a passport that could be stamped over and over again on my journey to becoming a Polish-American," he said.

Katie Clausen, library school student from Dominican University, received the 2013 Vera May Barnes Zubrzycki Scholarship (read more here), and her heartfelt acceptance demonstrated why she was chosen, as she spoke about cultural diversity in libraries. Susan Roman, dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican, and Michael Zubrzycki, scholarship donor for whose mother it is named, were on hand to present the award of $2,300.

Project coordinator Barbara Bilszta spoke about "All of Polonia Reads to Kids" and screened a film showing how well the reading initiative has taken off in Poland, and she urged Polish American librarians to participate. Following her talk, the young people of the Academy of Music of Paderewski Symphony Orchestra and Little Stars entertained with lively performances of classical and popular tunes.

PALA president Elizabeth Marszalik and PMA president Maria Ciesla welcomed the group, and Konrad Zielinski from the Polish Consulate in Chicago said he looked forward to working with PALA on future projects. PALA board member Leonard Kniffel talked about PALA's connection to the Jan Karski Educational Foundation, which was launched in 2012. Malgorzata Kot, PMA head librarian, served as emcee and conducted a tour of the museum library, one of the largest of its kind in the world, following the program.

Stuart Dybek

Watch a video of Stuart Dybek's

Academy of Music of Paderewski Symphony Orchestra

"Little Stars" Theater Workshops Chicago



:: Jan 30 2013 ::

Three PALA Members Complete LIS Studies at Dominican

Polish American Librarians Association members Malgorzata Kot, Iwona Bozek, and Anna Demitraszek graduated January 12 from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University. The PALA board of directors congratulates these members for their achievement.

Malgorzata KotMalgorzata Kot                 Iwona Bozek Iwona Bozek

"We're proud to have newly minted librarians out in the field dedicated to the mission of the Polish American Librarians Association, which is to positively impact services provided to library patrons of Polish descent and individuals interested in Polish culture. We are grateful for their commitment to diversity and to the inclusion of our stories in library collections throughout America."

The three graduates are all already working professionals. Kot is Head Librarian at the Polish Museum of America Library in Chicago and Bozek is a volunteer there. Under Kot's leadership, the PMA Library has made tremendous advances in modernizing service and collection development in recent years. Demitraszek is Adult Services Assistant at Wood Dale Public Library, in suburban Illinois.



:: Jun 23 2013 ::

You Don’t Have to Be Polish to Enjoy a Taste of Chicago with the Polish American Librarians during ALA


You don’t have to be Polish to appreciate a good Polish meal and the Chicago-style hospitality of the Polish American Librarians Association during the American Library Association’s Annual Conference and Exhibition, June 28-July 1 in the one American city where the Polish population is outnumbered only by Warsaw.

Join PALA for a Taste of the Town, featuring a visit to the Polish Museum of America and family-style lunch in Chicago’s famous Polonia Triangle, Friday, June 28 from noon to 3:30pm. Cosponsoring the event is ALA’s Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table. After the tour of the museum and museum library, connect with your colleagues and enjoy an authentic family-style Polish meal at Podhalanka restaurant, a Division Street mainstay since 1983. The bus will depart from McCormick Place at noon, and will return at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 and include bus transportation, museum admission and tour, and lunch. Although the reservation deadline has passed, contact John Amundsen with the ALA Office for Literacy Services at jamundsen@ala.org , or call 800-545-2433, ext. 2140, to see if any spaces on the bus remain open.

Next up is the Exhibit Opening Reception on Friday, June 28, where PALA board members--including President Elizabeth Marszalik, vice president Ron Stoch, founding president Aldona Salska, and Leonard Kniffel, who is also the author of the travel memoir A Polish Son in the Motherland and the newly released Huron Street Press title Musicals on the Silver Screen, from the American Library Association. Throughout the conference, Polish American authors will be in the booth talking about their work. The PALA booth was created especially for the Chicago conference and will spotlight a number of nationally acclaimed authors, among them Brigid Pasulka, Linda Nemec Foster, Wesley Adamczyk, and James Conroyd Martin, as well as filmmakers Ruth Leitman and Steve Dixon.

Winding up your tour of Polish Chicago, why not take a pierogi break and join the Polish American Librarians Association for dinner and conversation at the Szalas Restaurant a on Sunday, June 30, at 6 p.m. Again, the deadline has passed, but contact PALA through its website for last-minute availability.

PALA welcomes you to the Windy City, and no, you do not have to speak Polish; you don’t even have to be Polish to join us; you only have to support our mission and goals. The mission of the Polish American Librarians Association is to positively impact services provided to library patrons of Polish descent and individuals interested in Polish culture. PALA welcomes you to ALA in Chicago and invites you to join our efforts and participate.

:: Jun 04 2013 ::

Meet Authors, Enter Raffle, Learn about PALA:

Visit Exhibit Hall Booth 1246 at ALA in Chicago

During the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in Chicago, June 28-29-30, be sure to visit the Polish American Librarians Association booth, number 1246 in the exhibit hall. Volunteers will be on hand to answer your questions, and Polish American authors will be appearing in the booth throughout the conference. Recent books and other materials related to the Polish American experience will be on display; drop off your card to enter the PALA raffle and win a copy of the newly issued definitive edition of Jan Karski’s classic Story of a Secret State from Georgetown University Press.

During the Exhibit Opening Reception, Friday, June 28, 5:30-7:00 p.m., PALA board members will on hand to visit with conference attendees, including President Elizabeth Marszalik, vice president Ron Stoch, founding president Aldona Salska, and Leonard Kniffel, who is also the author of the travel memoir A Polish Son in the Motherland. and the newly released Huron Street Press title Musicals on the Silver Screen, from the American Library Association.

Saturday, June 29
  • 9-12 Brigid Pasulka, author of A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True
  • 12-3 James Conroyd Martin, author of the trilogy The Warsaw Conspiracy, Against a Crimson Sky, and Push Not the River
  • 3-5 Linda Nemec Foster, award-winning poet and collaborator with musician Laszlo Slomovits on the new music/poetry CD Cry of Freedom
Sunday, June 30
  • 9-11 Joseph W. Zurawski, author of Polish Chicago: Our History, Our Recipes
  • 11-1 Ruth Leitman & Steve Dixon, director and producer of the film Tony & Janina’s American Wedding
  • 1-3 Karen Kovacik, translator of Distant Lands: An Anthology of Poets Who Don’t Exist
  • 3-5 Helen Degen Cohen, author of the poetry collection Habry
Monday, July 1
  • 9-10 Anna Mycek-Wodecki, author of books for children, including Minutka, the Bilingual Dog
  • 10-12 Wesley Adamczyk, award-winning author of When God Looked the Other Way
  • 12-2 Sandra Novacek, librarian and editor/publisher of Border Crossings: Coming of Age in the Czech Resistance by Charles Novacek
The mission of the Polish American Librarians Association is to positively impact services provided to library patrons of Polish descent and individuals interested in Polish culture. PALA welcomes you to ALA in Chicago and invites you to learn about our efforts and participate.

:: May 22 2013 ::

Experience a taste of Poland with PALA at ALA Annual Conference

Join the Polish American Librarians Association for a Taste of the Town, featuring a visit to the Polish Museum of America and family-style lunch at Podhalanka restaurant in Chicago’s famous Polonia Triangle, during the American Library Association’s 2013 Annual Conference, Friday, June 28 from noon to 3:30pm. Cosponsoring the event is ALA’s Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table.

Explore the rich cultural heritage of Chicago’s Polish-American community at the Polish Museum of America, whose large collection features authentic folk art, traditional costume, coins, militaria, religious artifacts, items from the Polish exhibit at the 1939 World’s Fair, and much more. The tour will include a behind-the-scenes look at the PMA Library, one of the nation’s best ethnic heritage collections. Then, connect with your colleagues and enjoy an authentic family-style Polish meal at Podhalanka restaurant, a Division Street mainstay since 1983. The bus will depart from McCormick Place at noon, and will return at 3:30pm.

Tickets are $40 and include bus transportation, museum admission and tour, and lunch. Spaces are limited, reservations are required. To reserve your place, contact John Amundsen with the ALA Office for Literacy Services at jamundsen@ala.org , or call 800-545-2433, ext. 2140, by June 7.

The Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table serves as a source of information on recommended ethnic collections, services, and programs. It organizes task forces, institutes, and workshops, and develops forums and symposia programs for ALA Annual Conferences that deal with the key issues of ethnicity and librarianship.



:: May 14 2013 ::

PALA Networking Dinner During ALA

Save the Date: June 30, Sunday

If you are attending the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in Chicago, June 28-July 1, why not take a pierogi break and join the Polish American Librarians Association for dinner and conversation at the Szalas Restaurant on Sunday, June 30 at 6 p.m. PALA welcomes you to the city with the world’s second largest Polish population (an estimated 1.5 million in the metropolitan area) and invites you to get involved with your colleagues in the Polish-American community. No, you do not have to speak Polish; you don’t even have to be Polish; you only have to support our mission and goals.

"Over the past two decades, Poland has emerged from the yoke of communism to take its rightful place in the story of Europe," says PALA President Elizabeth Marszalik. "Polish Americans now have a unique and rapidly passing opportunity to tell the story of the real Polish diaspora, of the Polish people’s centuries-old struggle for liberty, and of the unspeakable price the nation paid for defying both the Nazis and the Soviets during World War II and for centuries before that. We believe librarians can make a difference by understanding what revelations have come to light since the fall of the Soviet Union, by reflecting the Polish story in their collections, and by filling in the blank spaces in the story of the valiant struggle of the first nation in the world to adopt a democratic constitution."

During the ALA conference, be sure to visit the PALA booth # 1246 in the exhibit hall. Volunteers will be on hand to answer your questions, and a number of Polish American authors will be appearing in the booth throughout the conference, among them award-winning Stuart Dybek, author of The Coast of Chicago and other story and poetry collections; teacher Brigid Pasulka, author of A Long Long Time Ago and Essentially True; poet Linda Nemec Foster; author and president of the Jan Karski Educational Foundation Wanda Urbanska; poet and documentarian John Guzlowski; and Leonard Kniffel, author of the travel memoir A Polish Son in the Motherland and PALA board member. Enter the raffle that will give away all the display books in the booth during the exhibits closing on Monday.

The mission of the Polish American Librarians Association is to positively impact services provided to library patrons of Polish descent and individuals interested in Polish culture. PALA welcomes you to ALA in Chicago and invites you to join our efforts and participate. But before we start warming your dinner plate, we ask that you register on the PALA website.
Netwrking Dinner

:: Mar 15 2013 ::

PALA Board Supports PNCC Studies Inclusion in JSTOR

The governing board of the Polish American Librarians Association voted at its February 12 meeting to support the efforts of PALA member Thomas Duszak to alert the Polish National Catholic Church about the importance of including PNCC Studies in JSTOR, the scholarly digital library of more than 1,500 academic journals, books, and primary sources.

A March 12 letter from PALA president Elizabeth Marszalik to Rev. Dr. Anthony Mikovsky, prime bishop of the Polish National Catholic Church in Scranton, Pennsylvania, urges the church to take the initiative and contact JSTOR. "We feel that, although PNCC Studies is no longer being published, it is of historical value to both the Polish community and many beyond the Polish community interested in U. S. History. Since the primary access to research material for scholars is through electronic resources like JSTOR, it would be an important and timely move to have PNCC Studies registered with JSTOR," the letter states.

Thomas Duszak is head of collections cataloging at the Pennsylvania State Library in Harrisburg. Twenty volumes of PNCC Studies were published between 1980 and 2000, and they recorded the proceedings from the Polish National Catholic Church's annual history conference. Duszak told the PALA board that it is the responsibility of librarians to alert the church hierarchy to JSTOR "as a means to give greater access to the knowledge of Polish and Polish American ethnic and religious history."

"JSTOR is subscribed to by thousands of libraries around in North America, Europe, and Asia," said Marszalik. "Making the contents of PNCC Studies accessible through JSTOR would mean that students and scholars would be able to access articles in PNCC Studies quickly without having to request hard copies of articles through interlibrary loan from one of only 29 libraries that hold the journal in their collections."

The mission of the Polish American Librarians Association is to positively impact services provided to library patrons of Polish descent and individuals interested in Polish culture, and one of its chief objectives is to expand the means of access to information about Polish and Polish American culture. "This initiative aligns perfectly with our goals," said Marszalik, and we are hopeful that the PNCC will recognize the value and benefits of inclusion in JSTOR once the library community comes forward with support.""

:: Jan 15 2013 ::

Save the Date: Polish American Librarians Annual Meeting Set for February 24

The 3rd Annual Meeting and Open House of the Polish American Librarians Association is scheduled for Sunday, February 24, 2013, noon to 4 p.m., at the Polish Museum of America, 984 North Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. Award-winning Polish-American author Stuart Dybek will deliver the keynote address, take questions from the audience, and sign copies of his books. The author program begins at 1:30, followed by a performance by the Music Academy of the Paderewski Symphony Orchestra and "Little Stars" Theater Workshops.

The Annual Meeting begins at noon with a luncheon buffet, followed by a short general meeting and an interactive discussion with some of the movers and shakers of the Polish American Library Association--an opportunity to get involved in PALA's goals and objectives. Information will also be available about the role of librarians in the newly formed Jan Karski Educational Foundation and in the "All of Polonia Reads to Kids" initiative. Tours of the museum and the museum library will begin at 3:30, following the speaker and entertainment. The meeting will also feature the presentation of the second Vera May Barnes Zubrzycki Scholarship to a student from Dominican University.

The mission of the Polish American Librarians Association is to positively impact services provided to library patrons of Polish descent and individuals interested in Polish culture and to enhance professional knowledge by developing forums for discussion and networks of communication among library staff working with Polish collections and patrons of Polish origin. Annual membership dues for librarians are $25. Library support staff, students, retirees, and others are eligible for a $15 special rate. Membership in PALA includes admission to the Annual Meeting and Open House; attendees can join or renew at the PALA website or at the door on the day of the program. From nonmembers, a $10 donation is encouraged.

:: Dec 9 2012 ::

Celebrated Author Stuart Dybek to Keynote Polish American Librarians Meeting

Author Stuart Dybek Award-winning Polish-American author Stuart Dybek is scheduled to keynote the 3rd Annual Meeting and Open House of the Polish American Librarians Association, scheduled for February 24, 2013, noon to 4 p.m., at the Polish Museum of America, 984 North Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. Dybek is the author of two story collections, Childhood and Other Neighborhoods and The Coast of Chicago; a novel, I Sailed with Magellan; and two collections of poetry, Brass Knuckles and Streets in Their Own Ink.

One of the most widely praised and authentically American literary voices of his generation, Dybek was born in Chicago and grew up in the Little Village and Pilsen neighborhoods in the 1950s and ‘60s. “I was a first generation kid growing up in a port- of-entry, working-class neighborhood, in an extended Polish family that was trying to assimilate," he says, and libraries were an important rite of passage.

"Libraries --especially branch libraries-- were essential way stations where my library card was like a passport that would be stamped over and over in my personal journey to becoming Polish-American", Dybek says. "One thinks of libraries, and rightly so, as an intellectual refuge, but for me they were an affair of the heart. I didn’t go to libraries because I had to, the way I went to school or for that matter to church; they were elective. I went because I wanted to be there, because I needed to be there. Before I knew what yearning was, I yearned for what they offered--an inner life, a glimpse of the universe in all its varied stories and histories. I would be sailing with Odysseus or Magellan or Jack London or Huck and Jim, and when I walked back out onto 26th Street I'd know, although I had not yet read Emily Dickinson, that indeed there was no frigate, coracle, raft, or lifeboat like a book."

Stuart Dybek graduated from St. Rita of Cascia High School and earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa and has an MA in literature from Loyola University Chicago. In 2004, The Coast of Chicago was the “One Book, One Chicago” selection and was widely read in libraries and high schools throughout the city. He currently teaches at Northwestern University, after more than 30 years teaching at Western Michigan University, where he remains an adjunct professor of English and a member of the permanent faculty of the renowned Prague Summer Program.

The mission of the Polish American Librarians Association is to positively impact services provided to library patrons of Polish descent and individuals interested in Polish culture and to enhance professional knowledge by developing forums for discussion and networks of communication among library staff. Annual membership dues for librarians are $25. Library support staff, students, retirees, and others are eligible for a $15 special rate. Membership in PALA includes admission to the Annual Meeting and Open House; attendees can join on the PALA website or at the door on the day of the program. Visit PALAlib.org for more details.

:: Nov 15 2012 ::

Illinois Governor, Chicago Mayor Help Launch Karski Educational Foundation

Pat QuinnIllinois Governor Pat Quinn was one of some 100 special guests and supporters who helped launch the Jan Karski Educational Foundation on November 12 at the Chicago law offices of Baker & McKenzie. Governor Quinn was a student of Karski’s at Georgetown University, which has been instrumental in the Jan Karski Centennial Campaign, a successful effort to garner a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom for Karski. The Polish American Librarians Association supported the Karski nomination, and PALA board member Leonard Kniffel served on the campaign steering committee. He and PALA president Elizabeth Marszalik represented PALA at the launch
more here ».

Quinn remembered Karski as “a very modest man, a man of great humor, who never took himself too seriously,” and he enumerated the achievements that earned Karski the Medal of Freedom, namely being one of the first people to infiltrate the Warsaw ghetto during the Second World War and risking his life to alert the Allies to what was happening in the Nazi concentration camps. Quinn said he hoped the new foundation would spread Karski’s message of “tolerance and service” to new generations of Americans. "Karski’s mission was courageous and perilous, and his testimony in his book Story of a Secret State, published in the U.S. in 1944, set the record straight about what the Allies knew about the Holocaust when there was still time to act", Quinn said.

Foundation President Wanda Urbanska said the Jan Karski Educational Foundation grew out of the Centennial Campaign (established to honor Karski and celebrate in 2014 the centennial of his birth) after President Barack Obama awarded Karski the Medal of Freedom on May 29 at the White House. “The foundation seeks to honor the Karski legacy by perpetuating his values: courage in the face of adversity, tolerance toward all people, and speaking truth to power", Urbanska said. The foundation board of directors plans to focus on educating Americans–especially youth–by promoting Story of a Secret State as a must-read in Holocaust, world and European history curriculums at the middle school, high school, and college levels.

In a letter to the foundation, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel praised its mission and said, “The foundation will also serve to educate young and old about the Holocaust, and will continue as long as people seek inspiration about how to act with courage when conditions are at their worst and how to become voices for truth and humanity.”

The foundation will also work with other organizations–among them the Polish History Museum in Warsaw, Loyola University, the Anti- Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, the Polish Museum of America, the Kosciuszko Foundation, and PALA–to preserve Karski’s legacy and to advance interfaith cooperation and exchange, especially between Catholic and Jewish communities. Representatives from a number of Jewish organizations participated in the launch, including David Harris of the American Jewish Committee, who described Karski with the Yiddish word “mensch,” that is, “an entirely good human being,” and Consul General Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka of the Polish Embassy in New York noted that Karski taught the world “what it means to be a human being.”

At its November 13 meeting, the PALA board discussed the alignment of the association’s mission with the goals of the foundation, especially with regard to promoting Story of a Secret State as required reading in American schools. A definitive edition of the book is due next year from Georgetown University Press.

For more information about how to support the Jan Karski Educational Foundation, visit www.jankarski.net.

:: Oct 5 2012 ::

Helena Modjeska Historic House and Gardens Visit

Rafal Kasprowski, a PALA Director-at-Large, visited Arden, the Helena Modjeska Historic House and Gardens, last July during the Annual Meeting of the American Library Association.

Celebrated Polish actress, Helena Modrzejewska (1840-1909), lived on this estate from 1888 to 1906, when she was not performing under the stage name of Modjeska across the Unites States and Europe, accompanied by her husband and manager Count Bozenta Chlapowski. The couple originally purchased the ranch, which they named after the Forest of Arden in Shakespeare's play "As You Like It", in 1876 after moving to America to start on a new course when Modrzejewska was already established as Poland's leading stage actress. Following an unsuccessful attempt as farmers, they resumed life in the theater and spent the next ten years prospering from Modrzejewska's performances and increasing fame before returning to the estate to build the present house, designed by the architect Stanford White. Modrzejewska's life was also closely tied to that of other well-known compatriots of hers. The author and future Nobel laureate Henryk Sienkiewicz accompanied her on her initial trip to Southern California. Ignacy Jan Paderewski – renowned pianist and eventual prime minister of Poland – visited Modrzejewska at Arden and organized a benefit concert for her in 1905, which led to a farewell tour by the actress the following year. Incidentally, Ralph Modjeski, Modrzejewska's son from an earlier union, became one of America's pre-eminent bridge engineers.


Tours available by advance appointment only. For reservations email Heritage Hill Historical Park at heritagehill@ocparks.com or call (949) 923-2230.

References:
Araneo, Margaret. "Starring Madame Modjeska: On Tour in Poland and America." Cosmopolitan Review. the cosmopolitan review, 15 Jan. 2012. Web. 16 Aug. 2012. .

"Arden: Helena Modjeska Historic House and Gardens." ocgov.com. County of Orange, n.d. Web. 16 Aug. 2012. .

"Helena Modjeska." Orange County Memories. Clear Digital Media, Inc., 9 Oct. 2006. Web. 16 Aug. 2012. .

Rasmussen, Cecilia. "Beauty of Star's Bucolic Retreat Belies Its Bloodstained History." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 13 Oct. 2002. Web. 16 Aug. 2012. .

:: July 27 2012 ::

PALA Benefits Survey Results




Join us and become a PALA active member. Annual membership dues for librarians are $25. Library support staff, students, retirees, and others are eligible for a $15 special rate.

:: Nov 5 2012 ::

The Vera May Barnes Zubrzycki Scholarship 2013

Applications are now being sought for the Vera May Barnes Zubrzycki Scholarship to the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. The scholarship is a collaborative project between the Polish American Librarians Association & Dominican University GSLIS. It is made possible through a gift from Michael & Christine Zubrzycki in honor of Mr. Zubrzycki's mother.

One $2,300 scholarship will be awarded to a library school student specializing in service to children, with emphasis on incorporating multiculturalism, particularly the Polish-American experience, into their practice of librarianship.

The application deadline is November 15, 2012. The recipient will be announced on February 24, 2013 at the PALA Annual Meeting / Open House at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago.

Application guidelines are available at the Dominican University website.
:: July 27 2012 ::

Polish American Librarians Association Meeting

Please join us for the next PALA General meeting, which will be held on Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 10 a.m. at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago.

Address:
The Polish Museum of America
984 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60642
Telephone: (773) 384-3352

We look forward to meeting you all.
If you have any questions prior to the meeting, feel free to contact us.

PALA Executive Board

Become a Polish American Librarians Association Active Member

Headquartered in Chicago but with a nationwide membership, the group's objectives are: to enhance professional knowledge by developing discussion forums and networks of communication among library staff working with Polish collections and patrons of Polish origin; to promote understanding and respect among all cultures by expanding the means for accessing reliable, current information about Polish and Polish American culture; to promote Polish American librarianship; and to provide opportunities for cooperation with other library associations and related organizations.

Join us today , and please consider active participation in one of our committees: Financial, Membership and Recruitment, Publicity (PR), Programming, Library Collections, or Website Development

Annual membership dues for librarians are $25. Library support staff, students, retirees, and unemployed library workers are eligible for a $15 special rate.
:: May 29 2012 ::

Dr. Jan Karski Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Washington, DC – President Barack Obama awarded today the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. Jan Karski. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is America’s highest civilian honor.

Since Dr. Karski passed away in 2000, Poland’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs Adam Daniel Rotfeld accepted the award on behalf of Karski. The ceremony – held in the East Room of the White House – was attended by Poland’s Ambassador to the United States Robert Kupiecki, Jan Karski US Centennial Campaign Director Wanda Urbanska, and Campaign Steering Committee members Robert Billingsley, Andrzej Rojek and Sigmund Rolat. Read more >>
:: April 21 2012 ::

Tony & Janina’s American Wedding Documentary

Tony & Janina’s American Wedding Documentary to Be Screened at ALA in Anaheim.

Polish American Library Association members and supporters attending this year’s American Library Association Annual Conference in Anaheim, California, June 21-26, mark your calendar for the Saturday morning screening of the documentary film Tony & Janina’s American Wedding. The film will be shown as part of the ongoing "Now Showing @ ALA" film series that has become a popular feature of ALA conferences.

Tony & Janina’s American Wedding follows a Chicago Polish family through decades of red tape navigating the U.S. immigration system. Breaking out of negative media stereotypes, the film tells the human-rights story of post-9/11 America that every undocumented immigrant in the U.S. encounters today. Directed by Ruth Leitman and produced by Steve Dixon, the film became a powerful agent for reform and a national news story when the Wasilewski family was reunited in Chicago in August 2011. It has to be a rare thing when a documentary film actually helps reverse a deportation decision of United States immigration enforcement, but that is what the film appears to have done. The U.S. granted Janina Wasilewski a waiver that allowed her to return.

The film will be screened at 10 a.m., Saturday, June 23, in room 304C of the Anaheim Convention Center. Polish American Library Association members are encouraged to attend and to facilitate discussion of this important and topical film. The fact that the director chose to focus on a Polish and not a Latino family is no coincidence, and her choice helps the viewer understand how humane immigration policies are essential for all Americans.

Reviewing the film on his PolishSon.com website, ALA publisher and PALA member Leonard Kniffel noted that the film motivated him to write to President Obama and urge him to support the lifting of the visa requirement for Poles who wish to visit the United States. "It’s a powerful film," Kniffel says, "that shows how an ordinary family can be ripped apart by unreasonable bureaucratic insensitivity."

Information about registering for the ALA Annual Conference is available on the web. Need to make the case for attending the conference? Use these resources. Visit the film’s website for information about screening the documentary or purchasing a DVD for your library.

:: April 28 2012 ::

Jan Karski to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

President Obama Announces Posthumous Honor at U.S. Holocaust Museum

President Barack Obama announced this week that he will award a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom to Jan Karski. The surprise announcement came during a speech April 23 at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. In December last year, the Polish American Librarians Association endorsed the efforts of the Jan Karski U.S. Centennial Campaign to garner the honor. Read more >>
:: April 12 2012 ::

Polish Museum in Chicago Offers Books, Assorted Attic Items for Sale

Librarians in the Chicago area July 21-22 won’t want to miss the sale going on at the Polish Museum of America, where the offerings include a wide selection of books, paintings, pottery, and assorted art objects from the museum’s attic.

The Polish Museum of America Library is selling duplicate books in English and Polish on various Polish topics, as well as a variety of books on non-Polish subjects. "If you love books, this is the place to purchase them at discount prices," says Malgorzata Kot, head of the library and co-creator of the sale. "Give a book a home—maybe even in your library!"

"The funds raised by the sale will help finance necessary improvements to the 97-year-old library and ensure its continued functioning," says Kot. "The books and art items we sell consist primarily of donations that cannot be added to the museum’s collection. We care greatly about all our books and we want to find new homes for them."

Hours for the sale are: Saturday, July 21, 10 a.m.--4 p.m., and Sunday, July 22, 11 a.m.--3 p.m., in the Social Hall on the first floor--entrance from the free parking lot. For more information, visit the PMA website or call 773-384-3352 ext. 101.The museum is located at 984 North Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago.

Books not sold during the July 21-22 event will be available for purchase at discounted prices in the library through August 10, during regular work hours. The library is open Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friend the library on Facebook and print out a coupon to receive a gift at the sale!

:: March 25 2012 ::

Polish American Librarians Association Meeting on April 15, 2012

Please join us for the next PALA General meeting, which will be held on Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 10 a.m. at the Polish Museum of America Library (984 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60642 www.polishmuseumofamerica.org).

Light refreshments and time for networking will be provided.
Topics for discussion will include:
  • PALA calendar 2012
  • 2nd Annual Meeting / Open House evaluation
  • PALA meeting at ALA
  • Membership directory
  • Goals and objectives for 2012
  • Members survey
  • Re-activating PALA’s committees.

We look forward to meeting you all.
If you have any questions prior to the meeting, feel free to contact us.

:: December 14 2011 ::

Dominican University Offers Scholarship in Partnership with PALA

One $2,300 scholarship will be awarded annually for the next three years to a library school student specializing in service to children, with emphasis on incorporating multiculturalism, particularly the Polish-American experience, into their practice of librarianship... Read more >>
:: January 6 2012 ::

Author Brigid Pasulka to Keynote Polish American Librarians Annual Meeting

Brigid Pasulka Polish-American author Brigid Pasulka is scheduled to keynote the 2nd Annual Meeting and Open House of the Polish American Librarians Association, February 19, 2012, noon to 4 p.m., at the Polish Museum of America, 984 North Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. She is the author of A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True, which Publishers Weekly called a "delightful debut" that "braids together two tales of old and new Poland," saying, "Pasulka creates a world that's magical despite the absence of magical happenings, and where Poland's history is bound up in one family's story." Read more >>
:: Dec 13 2011 ::

Ballots have been send to all current PALA Members

Dear PALA Members,

The Nominating Committee wants to thank all of you who have responded to our earlier e-mails asking for your nominations.  We are now ready to put before you the final slate of candidates for PALA's officers and its Executive Board.  If only one candidate has been nominated for a position, then that candidate has been automatically elected.

Please return your votes by e-mail to election@palalib.org by Saturday January 14.  We will tally the results and announce the officers and Directors-at-Large at least two weeks before the Annual Meeting.

Attached is the list of candidates for the posts of PALA's Board of Directors. Please, notice that the only post for which we have two candidates is the post of vice-president/president elect. This is the only vote you need to cast.

The ballots have been mailed to all current PALA members.
Deadline: January 14. 2012
Contact: election@palalib.org

Thank you

Nominating Committee

ELECTION CANDIDATES LISTDownlad PDF      PROCEDURE FOR NOMINATIONDownlad PDF

:: November 11, 2011 ::

Polish American Librarians Forge Connections with Colleagues in Poland

Aldona Salska and Elizabeth Marszalik, president and vice president respectively of the Polish American Librarians Association, are negotiating with librarians in Poland to forge a working relationship that will lead to the formation of an international network of library professionals who work with Polish collections or in libraries that serve patrons of Polish heritage.

“Our objective is to promote understanding and respect among all cultures by expanding the means for accessing reliable, current information about Polish and Polish American culture,” said Salska. “A strong connection to the Polish Librarians Association will help us promote Polish American librarianship by drawing on the resources and knowledge base of professionals in Poland, who are also responsible for maintaining collections and archives that will foster the study of Polish history and the Diaspora.”

To that end, Salska and Marszalik traveled to Wrocław, Poland, to present a program at the “Wrocławskie Spotkanie Bibliotekarzy,” June 30 through July 1, the third installment of an international librarians’ conference. Titled “The Polish American Librarians Association and Other Library Associations in the United States,” their presentation focused on the need and inspiration for the formation of PALA. “We discussed how American library associations play an extremely important role in the ongoing development of librarianship and libraries in the United States and the real need for ethnic library associations like Reforma: The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, and the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association,” said Marszalik.

Sponsored by the Wrocław University of Technology Library, the conference also featured presentations by John Michalski of the Library of Congress, Łucja Abrams of the University of Western Ontario, and Stefan Władysiuk from the Polish Institute and Library at McGill University in Montreal. Other presenters hailed from Hungary, Germany, Macedonia, and Sweden.

“Overall, it was a unique experience to attend a library conference in Poland and have the opportunity to network with librarians from Poland and also Polish librarians living and working now in many different countries and cultures,” said Marszalik. “We met with Elzbieta Stefanczyk, president of the Polish Librarians Association, and she is very enthusiastic about organizing an international network. We will continue to work with her as we plan the future activities and services of PALA.”


:: December 7 2010 ::

Polish American Librarians Association Launches Membership Drive

The newly formed Polish American Librarians Association is launching a membership recruitment campaign in support of its mission to have a positive impact on services provided to library patrons of Polish descent and individuals interested in Polish history and culture.
Headquartered in Chicago, the group's objectives are: to enhance professional knowledge by developing forums for discussion and networks of communication among library staff working with Polish collections and patrons of Polish origin; to promote understanding and respect among all cultures by expanding the means to access reliable, current information about Polish and Polish American culture; to promote Polish American librarianship; and to provide opportunities for cooperation with other library associations and related organizations.

"We want to develop a bank of reliable, thorough information about books and other media, programming ideas, and networking opportunities," says PALA President Aldona Salska. "Most of all we want to create a national forum for Polish American librarians, where they can play a prominent role in fostering a better understanding of Polish history and the Polish Diaspora."

Annual membership dues for librarians are $25. Library support staff, students, retirees, and unemployed library workers are eligible for a $15 special rate. Join us today!
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