Annual Report 2011

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

Jolanta Bogiel-Pasek.

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 – – 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, 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

and Australia.

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

Library System

 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

2. Marketing

3. Organization Structure

4. PALA Prestige.



PALA Strategic Plan for 2011-2012


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

e. Signage

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.



1. Committees:

a. Bylaws

b. Finance


c. Website

d. Membership and Recruitment

e. Publicity and Programming.

2. Regional Chapters.

3. Forums/Sections

a. Academic Libraries

b. Public Libraries

c. Special Libraries.



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