Meet the Newly Elected PALA Board of Directors

The spring election results have brought some familiar and some new faces to the Polish American Librarians Association Board of Directors. Ewa Barczyk, Director of the Golda Meir Library at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee is PALA’s new Vice President and President Elect. Leonard Kniffel, who has been serving as PALA Executive Director since 2014, has been elected President. Longtime Board member Joanna Klos is PALA Secretary, and Elizabeth Marszalik, a founding member of PALA, is Treasurer. New to the Board is Director-at-Large Paulina Poplawska,  Head Librarian at Capital Area District Libraries in Holt, Michigan, and returning to the board for a term as Director-at-Large is Ron Stoch.

The PALA membership also approved three bylaws revisions, which extend the President and Vice President terms to two years, simplify the Secretary’s duties, and remove the mention of February as the month when the Annual Meeting will take place.

“As PALA shifts direction to concentrate on offering networking opportunities to members and forging partnership with kindred organizations, we want to focus our energy on communication via our PALA Mine e-newsletter, on helping our members become more professionally active, and on making libraries more valuable to the Polish American community,” said Kniffel. “Being PALA president is a way for me to help advance library services, collections, and programs that include Polish history and culture in ways that were not possible during the supression and misinformation of the communist era.”

The PALA Board voted earlier this year to eliminate—or at least place on hold–the ad hoc “Executive Director” board position formerly held by Kniffel. “It was an experiment in structure, modeled after other associations, to create the position in the first place,” he noted, “and at age 6, PALA is simply not large enough or complicated enough to warrant both a president and an executive director.” The board is committed to an annual review of bylaws and strategic priorities, following the recent adoption of a new set of organizational goals  that focus the association’s energy and resources on networking and career development through four primary activity areas:

  • Planning and conducting the Annual Meeting and participating in other national, state, and international conferences, and in other networking forums.
  • Improving communication and resource sharing with members through the PALA Mine quarterly newsletter, the PALA website, and survey and evaluation forms.
  • Recruiting and retaining members through the efficient and effective use and maintenance of the email mailing list.
  • Partnering with and supporting the efforts of libraries, library associations, and other related organizations.

A number of Director-at-Large spots on the board remain open, and members are invited to inquire if they are interested in becoming involved in the PALA activities described above. Email to