PALA Logo designed by Aleksandra Terlik
:: Sept 16 2014 ::

All of Polonia Reads to Kids” Scheduled at Two Illinois Libraries

Indian Trails Library District and Wood Dale Public Library in Illinois will both host “All of Polonia Reads to Kids” October 5 and October 12 in the second year of this popular program designed to encourage children of the Polish diaspora to read. PALA unveiled the program at its 2013 Annual Meeting at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago and is cosponsoring the event Polish American Librarians Association Immediate Past President Elizabeth Marszalik is Materials Services Manager at Oak Park Public Library and will be directing the day’s events at Indian Trails Public Library. She was instrumental in bringing the reading campaign from Poland to the U.S. and presenting it at Indian Trails last year for some 100 attendees. Joanna Klos, PALA Vice President/President Elect, will head the program at Wood Dale, which is hosting for the first time this year.

“Last year’s success of this program at the Indian Trails Public Library confirmed that there is a great need among Chicago area Polonia for such events,” Says Marszalik. “I found this very inspiring and motivating for promoting this reading campaign at other American libraries serving the Polish community. I strongly believe that the Polish American Librarians Association can truly play very important role in helping Polish-American parents to raise the next generations of bi-lingual readers.”

“I am very excited to bring is this reading initiative to Polish patrons of Wood Dale Public Library as well as its surrounding areas,” says Kols. “The event will also be an opportunity for Polish patrons to discover all of the wonderful resources that public libraries have to offer.” This year the events will take place on October 5, 2-3:30 p.m. at the Wood Dale Public Library, and October 12, 1-2:30 at the Indian Trails Public Library will host the event for the second time from 1-2:30. The first part of the event will include a presentation on the importance of reading by Elizabeth Marszalik and the second part of the event will include a performance of Theatre Workshop’s “Little Stars” under the directorship of Agata Paleczny.

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. The Wood Dale Public Library District serves 13,166 residents of Wood Dale and Bensenville by providing access to library materials and programs to encourage literacy, promote lifelong learning, and experience a sense of community in a welcoming environment.
:: Sept 6 2014 ::

Karski Days Offer Many Ways for Chicagoland PALA Members to Participate

Polish American librarians are urged to participate in “Jan Karski Days in Chicago,” September 18-21. Polish American Librarians Association members who live in the Chicago area can take advantage of a number of special events, leading up to a free two-day international conference at Loyola University, September 19-20, all revolving around the heroism of Jan Karski during World War II.

Organized by Bozena Nowicka McLees, the “Jan Karski 2014 International Conference on Memory and Responsibility” will take place on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus in Chicago and will feature panel discussions with some 40 leading Polish scholars, as well as a keynote address by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and the screening of two documentary films, In the Name of Their Mothers about Irena Sendler and Stones for the Rampart, a feature film directed by Robert Glinski. Among the discussion moderators will be Wanda Urbanska, president of the Jan Karski Educational Foundation, Robert Kostro of the Polish History Museum in Warsaw, Samantha Horn of the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, Jacek Nowakowski of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, Malgorzata Kot of the Polish Museum of America, and Kinga Kosmala of the University of Chicago. The conference concludes with a Polish music and dance program featuring soprano Delia Surratt and pianist Diana Schmuck, dancer Karol Szymanowski, and songs of the 1930s and 1940s performed by the Lira Ensemble.

“Jan Karski Days in Chicago” begin with the September 18 opening of “The World Knew: Jan Karski’s Mission for Humanity,” a must-see exhibition at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie that runs though January 25, 2015. Chicago’s Chopin Theatre will present the premiere of Coming to See Aunt Sophie, a new play written by Arthur Feinsod based on the life of Jan Karski. Show times are September 20 at 2 p.m. and September 21 at 6 p.m, a special performance to be preceded by a conversation with the playwright and the director Dale McFadden. Feinsod is also scheduled to be one of the moderators at the Loyola conference.

“Jan Karski Days in Chicago” celebrate the centennial of his birth. Jan Karski carried out one of the most monumental missions attempted in World War II—a cross-continent trek to inform western leaders in 1942 that the Holocaust was underway. As an emissary for the Polish Underground State, Karski carried classified information from the Resistance on the ground in occupied Poland to the Polish government-in-exile. Only 28 years old at the time, Karski twice entered the Warsaw Ghetto and later penetrated a Nazi transit camp, in disguise, to see Jews being herded to their deaths. With those eyewitness accounts, he met with President Roosevelt to inform him about the on-going genocide. Tragically, the Allies chose not to act on his report.

The Polish American Librarians Association has supported the work of the Jan Karski Educational Foundation since its inception, and PALA Executive Director Leonard Kniffel has served as a volunteer and supporter of the Foundation’s successful efforts to obtain the 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously for Karski.

“This is a rare and important opportunity for librarians to learn more about Poland’s role in World War II and about one brave man’s effort to speak truth to power,” says Kniffel. “In an age of never-ending war, at a time when smaller and smaller numbers of eyewitnesses to the Holocaust remain, it is so important for librarians in their role as educators and knowledge managers to keep Karski’s spirit alive.”

The Loyola conference is free, but you must register. Learn more about the exhibition on the Holocaust Museum’s website. Follow all the activities through the Karski Foundation online.

:: Sept 2 2014 ::

Polish Library in Paris Shares Treasures with Visiting PALA Members

The Polish Library in Paris (La Bibliothèque Polonaise de Paris or Biblioteka Polska w Paryżu) opened its doors August 27 to a delegation of five visitors representing the Polish American Librarians Association for a tour through its museum, exhibitions, and rich book collection, all housed in a historic building on Ile Saint-Louis. Library staffers Magdalena Głodek and Ewa Rutkowski led the tour. Participants were Ewa Barczyk and Neal Pease of the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, scholar and librarian Maria Witt of Paris, and PALA executive director Leonard Kniffel and photographer Carlon Walker of Chicago.
Malgorzata Kot
Established in 1838 by Polish patriots who fled to France after the defeat of the November Uprising of 1830, the Polish Library in Paris has been the cultural center of Polish emigration to France since the mid-19th century and claims the distinction of being the largest cultural institution representing Poland outside Poland. Głodek and Rutkowski explained that the collection embodies not just Polish history but French history as well, since Poland had been wiped off the map of Europe and the preservation of Polish language and culture rested in large part with Polish expats in France, such as Adam Mickiewicz and Frédéric Chopin. The library has outstanding materials related to these great romantics of the 9th century, a room for each.
Malgorzata Kot
“The Polish Library in Paris is an essential resource for scholars,” said Kniffel, “and I hope our visit helps in some way to forge more connections between American librarians and library collections around the world that preserve the record of the Polish diaspora.”
Malgorzata Kot
:: Aug 17 2014 ::

Three New Members Join PALA Board of Directors

At its August 13 meeting at the Oak Park Public Library, the Board of Directors of the Polish American Librarians Association appointed two PALA members to the board to fill vacant at-large positions: Diane Bartkowiak and Renata Schneider.  Earlier this year, Wanda Jacak was also appointed as a Director. Bartowiak is Senior Library Associate at the American Dental Association (ADA) Library and Archives, Schneider is Metadata Librarian at DePaul University, and Jacak is a retired technical services librarian.

"I am pleased and delighted that all have dedicated themselves to the PALA Board," said President Ron Stoch.  "It is my honor to work with these members who will provide PALA with ideas, energy, and unimaginable contributions!"

The requirements of Board service include attending monthly meetings, which take place at various libraries and cultural institutions around Chicagoland, as well as planning the PALA Annual Meeting and launching individual library initiatives related to Polish history and culture. Board members outside the Chicago area attend via Skype.

:: Jul 30 2014 ::

IFLA Attendees Invited to Meet at Polish Library in Paris

Polish Library in Paris In cooperation with the Polish Library in Paris (La Bibliothèque Polonaise de Paris or Biblioteka Polska w Paryżu), the Polish American Librarians Association is sponsoring a post-IFLA meeting and tour of this unique library located in a historic building on Ile Saint-Louis. The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions is scheduled to meet August 16-22 in Lyon, France, and the half-day PALA meeting will follow on August 27 in Paris. Polish and Polish American IFLA attendees—as well as anyone interested in learning more about the historical connections between France and Poland—are invited to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

Established in 1838 by Polish patriots who fled to France after the defeat of the November Uprising of 1830, the Polish Library in Paris has been the cultural center of Polish emigration to France since the mid-19th century and claims the distinction of being the largest cultural institution representing Poland outside Poland. Elle s'est établie sur l'île Saint-Louis, en plein cœur de Paris, dans un magnifique immeuble du XVIIème siècle qui abrite des ouvrages et des archives de grande valeur, ainsi qu'une collection importante d'œuvres d'art.Located on beautiful Île Saint-Louis in the heart of Paris, the Polish Library holds valuable and unique books and records, as well as an important art collection.

Renovated and modernized in the early 21st century, the 17th-century building is a haven for readers and researchers who wish to deepen their knowledge of Franco-Polish relations and the history of Poland, says Director C. Pierre Zaleski.La Bibliothèque Polonaise dispose de nombreux souvenirs du plus grand poète romantique polonais du XIXème siècle, Adam Mickiewicz (Musée) et de l'illustre compositeur Frédéric Chopin (Salon). The museum portion of the library has an outstanding collection of materials related to the great romantic poet of the 19th century, Adam Mickiewicz, and composer Frédéric Chopin.

"We are also inviting IFLA colleagues from Poland to this seminar," says Leonard Kniffel, PALA executive director and event organizer. “Information will be available in French, English, and Polish, so language should not be a barrier.” There is no charge, but you do need to register. If you are interested in attending this seminar, contact Kniffel for details and directions: lkniffel@sbcglobal.net.

:: Jul 26 2014 ::

PALA Member Named Managing Director of Polish Museum of America

The Executive Committee and the Board of Directors of the 79-year-old Polish Museum of America (PMA) in Chicago announced July 25 that Polish American Librarians Association founding member Malgorzata Kot has been named PMA Managing Director.

Malgorzata Kot


In a news release, the PMA said Kot had been selected "from a field of qualified candidates" ... "after an intense search and interview process." Kot has been with the PMA for 19 years as Head Librarian, and is respected and known among all segments of Polonia, Poland, and abroad. During her tenure, she developed many cooperative relationships and introduced several innovations to the PMA, the news release went on to say, and "the Museum is an integral part of her professional life, and she has a great vision for the future of the PMA and its mission." A graduate of the Dominican University School of Library and Information Science, she begins her new position September 1.

When asked about what direction the PMA will take under her leadership, Kot stated, "I look to strengthen the PMA’s efforts - working not only with the board and staff, but also jointly with other individuals and organizations who share in the goals and mission of the Polish Museum of America. The PMA will continue to move forward as a center for culture and a reflection of history through its programming and events."

"We are particularly pleased with the selection of Malgorzata Kot as Managing Director of the entire museum because it demonstrates the depth and breadth of the skills she has acquired as a librarian," said PALA President Ron Stoch. "'Gosia' is tireless in her work and has transformed the PMA Library from an old-fashioned facility into the vibrant heart of the Polish Museum. We, her colleagues, applaud her success and this much-deserved recognition of her abilities."

 Contact: PMA@polishmuseumofamerica.org

 
:: Jun 1 2014 ::

The Fourth Partition Director, Producer Talk with PALA Board about Screening Their Film in Libraries

At the invitation of PALA President Ron Stoch, Adrian Prawica and Rafał Muskała, director/editor and associate producer of the documentary film The Fourth Partition, met with the Polish American Librarians Association board May 29 at the Eisenhower Public Library in Harwood Heights, Illinois, to raise awareness of its availability and to encourage libraries to screen the film. “The Fourth Partition is a remarkable film documenting Polish immigration to Chicago from 1870 to 1920,” said Stoch.

The filmmakers explained that at the Dawn of the 20th century, Chicago was the second largest city in the United States with over 2 million residents. It was also the center of Polish culture and political activism in America, while Poland was partitioned between Russia, Austria and Germany. In Chicago, they worked in some of the most dangerous factories and mills in the United States. In their neighborhoods, they built communities, churches, and most of all, aided their beloved Poland in her fight for independence. The "Fourth Partition" title comes from the historical three partitions of Poland, which wiped it off the political map of Europe; the title refers to way these three partitions led to a fourth, when over 4 million Poles immigrated to the United States between 1870 and 1920 in search of a better life.


Prawica and Muskała also talked about the remarkable discoveries they made in libraries and archives, especially the Library of Congress and the archives of Polish newspapers. Board members who had seen the film, which was featured and praised in the 25th Annual Polish Film Festival in America last year, agreed that The Fourth Partition is a stunning and meticulously researched documentary that deserves wider audiences.

The filmmakers and the PALA board urge librarians to consider a screening and discussion of the film at your library. The filmmakers believe the film is suitable for adult audiences as well as young adults aged 13 and up. The Fourth Partition is now available on DVD, from the filmmakers or from sellers such as Amazon. For more information visit the film website.

:: 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”



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