PALA Logo designed by Aleksandra Terlik
:: 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

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.

In the midst of the Second World War, Jan Karski was sent by Poland’s Resistance Movement, the largest underground organization in Nazi-occupied Europe, to inform the West about the atrocities being committed by the Nazis in occupied Poland, including the slaughter of the Jewish population, as well as millions of others. Karski talked with British and U.S. officials, including President Roosevelt, giving his eyewitness reports. He later became a professor at Georgetown University, educating generations of students about the dangers of not speaking up in the face of cruelty, oppression and genocide.

Jan Karski was born in Lodz, Poland, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1954. He was the recipient of the Order of the White Eagle, the Republic of Poland’s highest civilian honor, along with its highest military decoration, Virtuti Militari. In 1994, he was made an honorary citizen of Israel, recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem and named as a “Savior” by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation. Dr. Karski earned a Ph.D. from Georgetown University, and was the recipient of six honorary degrees from around the world.

After the White House ceremony, a reception at the Poland’s Ambassador’s Residence for invited guests was held as part of the celebration. Hundreds of guests joined Ambassador Kupiecki in a toast to the achievements of Poles past and present, as well as those of all ethnicities who value freedom, courage and tolerance.

With this honor, Dr. Karski joins the distinguished company of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Aung San Suu Kyi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Elie Wiesel, Nelson Mandela, Pope John Paul II and Lech Wałęsa, who have also been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for their contributions.

The Jan Karski US Centennial Campaign was established in 2011 as part of a worldwide effort initiated by the Polish History Museum in Warsaw. Ewa Wierzynska, senior advisor for international cooperation at the Museum, has worked with groups in several countries to educate them about Karski’s legacy.

Polish Consul General Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka of New York has been an instrumental partner in the Jan Karski US Centennial Campaign initiative, having hosted the inaugural dinner on May 31, 2011 at the Polish Consulate in New York City, as well as the first annual Jan Karski Day celebration there on April 24, 2012, Karski’s birthday. The Karski Day celebration was held the day after President Obama announced that he would award Karski the Presidential Medal of Freedom this year.

For more information about Dr. Karski or about the Campaign, consult the Jan Karski U.S. Centennial Campaign website
:: 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.

Polish American author and journalist Wanda Urbanska, head of the Campaign, said she received a call the day before the announcement informing her that the decision had been made, and she jumped on a train to be present during the ceremony. Urbanska has worked tirelessly to raise public awareness of Karski’s heroism. "This highest of civilian honors in our great land validates the principles that Jan Karski stood for: tolerance and understanding among people of all faiths and the courage to speak the truth in the worst of times," she said.

Then-PALA President Aldona Salska wrote last December that the Association "recognizes the value of this important effort to focus national and international attention on the extraordinary efforts of this Polish-American hero, who risked his life to tell the truth about the Holocaust. Jan Karski’s story of heroism remains largely unrecognized by the public, even as we are about to celebrate the centennial of his birth. Part of 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. The Karski Campaign dovetails perfectly with the Association’s vision."

Karski served as an officer in the Polish Underground during World War II and carried among the first eye-witness accounts of the Holocaust to the world. He worked as a courier, entering the Warsaw ghetto and the Nazi Izbica transit camp, where he saw first-hand the atrocities occurring under Nazi occupation. Karski later traveled to London to meet with the Polish government-in-exile and with British government officials. He subsequently traveled to the United States and met with President Roosevelt. Karski published Story of a Secret State, earned a Ph.D at Georgetown University, and became a professor at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. Born in 1914, Karski became a U.S. citizen in 1954 and died in 2000.

President Obama said, "We must tell our children about how this evil was allowed to happen— because so many people succumbed to their darkest instincts; because so many others stood silent. But let us also tell our children about the Righteous Among the Nations. Among them was Jan Karski—a young Polish Catholic—who witnessed Jews being put on cattle cars, who saw the killings, and who told the truth, all the way to President Roosevelt himself. Jan Karski passed away more than a decade ago. But today, I’m proud to announce that this spring I will honor him with America’s highest civilian honor—the Presidential Medal of Freedom."

After the speech, the President personally commented to Urbanska, "We got it done!"

For more information, watch a video interview with Wanda Urbanska, visit the White House press room online, or visit the Jan Karski U.S. Centennial Campaign website.

:: 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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