This is the first annual report of the Polish American Librarians Association. At the start
of 2010, a small informal group of enthusiastic Polish American Librarians began
meeting to discuss the possibility of forming a formal professional organization that
would work towards helping Polish library patrons. This group became the founding
committee of the Polish American Librarians Association (PALA).
Founding members included:
Aldona Salska – Reference Librarian at the Prospect Heights Public Library
Elizabeth Marszalik – Materials Division Manager at the Indian Trails Public
Malgorzata Bylinska – Cataloging Supervisor at the Arlington Heights Memorial
Ursula Zyzik – Reference Librarian at the Saint Xavier University
Helena Ziolkowski – librarian emeritus from Chicago PL Portage Park Branch
Malgorzata Kot – Head Librarian at the Polish Museum of America Library
Krystyna Grell – Librarian at the Polish Museum of America Library
Joanna Bohdziewicz-Borowiec – former librarian.
The Polish Museum of America Library has generously hosted regular PALA meetings
since the group’s inception.
PALA established its first Executive Board on February 7 th , 2010. Board members
included: President, Aldona Salska, Vice-President, Elizabeth Marszalik, Secretary,
Ursula Zyzik, Treasurer, Malgorzata Bylinska, and Board of Directors, Helena
Ziolkowski, Malgorzata Kot, and Krystyna Grell.
On February 18 th , 2010 PALA was officially incorporated in the State of Illinois. On
March 12 th , 2010, PALA registered with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.
On February 26 th , 2010 the PALA logo was created and generously donated to PALA by
On March 5 th , 2010 Aldona Salska met with Elzbieta Stefanczyk, President, and
Marzena Przybysz, Secretary of the Stowarzyszenie Bibliotekarzy Polskich (Polish
Librarians Association) at the National Library of Poland in Warsaw. At this meeting and
through further correspondence, both organizations expressed interest in cooperation
and mutual support.
On March 18 th , 2010 Aldona Salska and Elizabeth Marszalik had the opportunity to
present PALA and describe what the organization can offer to librarians serving diverse
communities at the North Suburban Library System in Wheeling, IL. The training, titled
“Serving Polish and Russian Patrons,” was led by Catherine Popowits. Aldona
presented a short PowerPoint presentation about PALA, which was received with great
interest, and Elizabeth was a panelist addressing the special needs of Polish patrons.
Polish American Librarians Association Annual Report
From the beginning of the year, the organization worked intensely on defining PALA’s
mission, vision and bylaws, recruiting new members, and spreading the word out about
this newly formed organization. PALA’s bylaws were officially voted upon and adopted
on April 11 th , 2010, then revised and adopted with revisions on July 17 th , 2010. The
adopted Mission and Vision statements are as follows:
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.
1. 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.
2. To promote understanding and respect among all cultures by expanding the
means to access reliable, current information about Polish and Polish-American
3. To promote Polish American librarianship.
4. To provide opportunities for cooperation with other library associations.
The Spring and Summer of 2010 enriched PALA with three new enthusiastic and
talented members. Rita Ziemlo Perona, Reference Librarian at the Elmhurst Public
Library, accepted the Secretary position which remained vacant after Ursula Zyzik’s
resignation in March 2010. Marcin Terlik, System Administrator at Indian Trails Public
Library, and Alexandra Slawska, Graphics Manager at Indian Trails Public Library,
played key roles in establishing an online presence for PALA – Marcin as PALA
Webmaster and Alexandra as Graphics Designer.
Our website – www.palalib.org – was launched in July 2010 and was presented to all
PALA members on August 1 st , 2010. Since then more content and functionality has
been added. There are eight main topic tabs with dropdown menus. The main topics
are: About Us, Organization Structure, Join Us, Minutes, News, Contact Us (online
form), FAQ, and Resources. Some of the websites highlights are: a WorldCat search
limited to Polish language materials, and the items found under the Resources tab,
which include Bibliographies, Translations and Programming ideas. Based on our
Google Analytics, from July through December 2010, palalib.org had 1,100 visits from
575 unique visitors. These visits came from 16 countries, including the United States –
976, Poland – 65, Germany – 23, Canada -9, France – 8, the United Kingdom, China
Other important PALA activities in 2010 included recruiting new members, making initial
contacts with the American Library Association and Illinois Library Association,
preparing for our 1 st Annual Meeting, and working on a strategic plan.
At the end of 2010 PALA had 18 members. New members that joined us in the last few
months of 2010 are:
Renata Schneider – Catalog Librarian at the DePaul University Library
Joanna Klos – Operations Manager at the Wood Dale Public Library
Celeste Kuta – Reference Librarian at the Indian Trails Public Library
Leonard Kniffel – Editor-In- Chief of “American Libraries”
Teresa Sromek – Assistant Archivist at the Polish Museum of America
Phyllis Sadowski – Assistant Manager of Youth Services at the Barlett Public
Alice Calabrese Berry – Retired, Former Executive Director of the Metropolitan
Kathy Berman – Prospect Heights Public Library Board Member.
Future plans are very ambitious and are included in the Strategic Plan for 2011-2012. This
plan is focused on four key points:
1. Networking and Services
3. Organization Structure
4. PALA Prestige.
PALA Strategic Plan for 2011-2012
I. NETWORKING AND SERVICES
1. Utilize online social networking tools (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google groups,
2. Establish and maintain a PALA listserv.
3. Use PALA website to develop a bank of reliable, motivating information
a. Polish bestsellers
b. Bibliographies on topics of interest
c. Polish collections in American libraries
d. Successful outreach and programming events
f. Contact list of Polish American librarians and their areas of expertise
g. Speakers’ bureau.
4. Provide support in library job search.
1. Promote PALA
a. Deliver information about PALA to Illinois libraries
b. Deliver information about PALA to libraries across the nation
c. Develop relationships with other Polish American organizations
d. Maintain a close cooperation with Stowarzyszenie Bibliotekarzy
Polskich (Polish Librarians Association).
2. Promote Polish American librarianship among prospective library science
3. Promote Polish literature and culture.
a. Establish cooperation with Polish American student organizations
b. Pursue resources and fund at least one scholarship for Polish
Americans pursuing a degree in library science.
a. Promote Polish and Polish American authors
b. Promote Polish culture events.
4. Promote library services among Polish Americans.
III. ORGANIZATION STRUCTURE
d. Membership and Recruitment
e. Publicity and Programming.
2. Regional Chapters.
a. Academic Libraries
b. Public Libraries
c. Special Libraries.
IV. PALA PRESTIGE
Under which you will find our hopes to…
1. Become affiliated with the American Library Association.
2. Establish a PALA presence at local, national, and international library
3. Publish in American and Polish media.
conferences (ILA, Reaching Forward, ALA, PLA, IFLA etc).
Submitted by PALA Board
Presented by Rita Perona at the 1 st Annual Meeting on February 20, 2011