It’s Official! PALA Is ALA Affiliate

The governing Council of the American Library Association has voted to make the Polish American Librarians Association an ALA Affiliate. The action was taken January 27 during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. PALA applied for affiliation in 2019, and the application was vetted by the ALA Executive Board to ensure that bylaws and mission were in compliance with ALA. PALA joins 27 other affiliated library organizations (listed below) and with the Chinese American Librarians Association becomes one of only two affiliates that are nation-specific.

“The significance of PALA’s affiliation is two-fold,” says PALA President Ewa Barczyk. “First, it supports our mission of having a positive impact on services provided to library patrons of Polish descent and individuals interested in Polish history and culture.  Second, it is a form of professional recognition of the Polish diaspora and the library profession’s responsibility to address the service needs of Polish communities in America and around the world.” There are roughly 20,000,000 people of Polish ancestry living outside Poland, making the Polish diaspora one of the largest in the world and one of the most widely dispersed. 

“This affiliation offers PALA members a clear pathway to greater professional participation at the national level,” says Marianne Ryan, Dean of Libraries at Loyola University Chicago and PALA board member who represented PALA at the Council meeting in Philadelphia, along with PALA member Danuta Nitecki. Among the benefits of affiliation are: inclusion in the electronic ALA Handbook of Organization and the final program at ALA Midwinter Meetings and Annual Conferences, the ability to reserve meeting room space and sleeping room blocks at Midwinter and Annual at ALA rates, program cosponsorship opportunities, free conference registration for an official representative, and free participation in the affiliates booth in the exhibit hall.

Representing PALA at ALA Council, Danuta Nitecki and Marianne Ryan

“Perhaps the most important benefit of all,” says PALA board member Leonard Kniffel, who was instrumental in obtaining affiliate status, “is that we can state on, on our correspondence and publicity material, and at all our events  that we are affiliated with the world’s oldest, largest, and most influential library association.”

The PALA Board will be planning an event to celebrate affiliation and PALA’s 10th anniversary during the 2020 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, June 25-30, and all PALA members interesting in attending or helping to plan the program are invited to contact PALA President Ewa Barczyk at

List of affiliates of the American Library Association: