The forthcoming Annual Conference of the American Library Association in Chicago in June and the World Library and Information Congress of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions in August in Wrocław, Poland, offer a unique partnership opportunity for the Polish American Librarians Association, and the PALA Board of Directors voted at its December 4 meeting to work with ALA on programming at both venues, with the intention of applying for ALA Affiliate status in 2017.
Becoming the 27th ALA Affiliate would put PALA on a par with other ethnic affiliates such as the Chinese American Librarians Association and Reforma: The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking. Benefits of affiliation include publicity and meeting room space for PALA meetings scheduled during the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference, program co-sponsorship privileges, the right to reserve a sleeping room sub-block for members, free Annual and Midwinter registration for the official PALA representative, complimentary meeting room space for board meetings, participation in the Affiliates booth in the exhibit hall, and subscription to the ALA Affiliates list, which serves as a communication tool for all affiliates throughout the year.
From its establishment in 2010, PALA has considered ALA affiliation as one of its goals, but that goal is something that the membership as a whole must want. At its peak, PALA had some 120 members, but membership renewal has fluctuated and affiliation has been put on hold. This year offers the best opportunity for the PALA membership to renew or rejoin our efforts to support Polish American librarians and libraries with networking opportunities and partnerships that work to ensure better representation of Polish and Polish American history and culture in the libraries of America. A membership renewal drive will be coming your way in the weeks ahead; please give PALA a future by renewing or joining and encouraging others to do so.
In 1989, when I attended my first IFLA conference, a meeting of the federation in Poland seemed like a pipe dream. Now that dream is about to come true, and PALA would like to help as many Polish-American librarians as possible go to IFLA. This is our profession’s major international organization and PALA is an organizational member. The fact that the conference will be held in Poland is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for librarians who serve the Polish American community to meet and learn from their colleagues in Poland and around the world. In cooperation with ALA, PALA will be helping to staff the ALA exhibit booth at IFLA, where we will be highlighting Polish American libraries, archives, collections, and services to the Polish community in the USA. We especially need booth volunteers with Polish language skills, since the host nation usually has the largest number of attendees. PALA will be reaching out to Polish librarians and libraries across the United States and urging them to send materials for distribution in the booth.
PALA is planning to launch a membership drive this month to retain old members and recruit new members who can take the association in directions that keep pace with the changing demographics of Polish-American librarians and library patrons. The PALA Board of Directors is scheduled to meet February 5 for a planning session for ALA and IFLA, location to be announced. All PALA members are invited to attend. Please send me an email and let me know if you are interested in coming to this important board meeting: firstname.lastname@example.org.