Polish-American Librarians Aim to Raise Public Awareness
Polish American Librarians Association members, from left, Carol Dolin, Gosia Bylinska, Leonard Kniffel, Elizabeth Marszalik, Ronald Stoch, Alice Calabrese-Berry, Andrew Sankowski, Rafal Kasprowski.
Eight members of the new Polish American Librarians Association met informally over lunch at the National World War II Museum on Sunday during ALA in New Orleans to discuss the organization’s goals and objectives, which include the possibility of applying for affiliation with ALA.
But first things first. PALA, which was incorporated in Chicago in 2010, recognizes that its 50-plus members need to be organized and focused to move the association forward. Among the topics the group discussed:
- The need for a monthly e-newsletter to emanate from the PALA website.
- The need to connect with library professionals in Poland.
- How best to develop programs and services that will positively impact Americans of Polish descent.
- How to assist librarians with collection building, programming, and exhibitions to combat misperceptions and stereotypes of Polish people.
- The need to develop recommended reading and viewing lists for collection development.
- The issue of immigration reform and its implications for the Polish community.
- How to influence the way the history of Poland and the Polish Diaspora are represented in the media and to raise public awareness of contributions of Poland and Poles to the world.
- The need to partner with other organizations and events, such as Poland in the Rockies and Polish-American writers groups.
- The need to work with other organizations within ALA to sponsor programs on diversity, history, literacy, immigration, and other relevant topics for ALA conferences.
- The conflict within the Polish-American community between traditional and contemporary art, music, and literature.
- Establishment of a scholarship for a Polish-American library school student.
- How to reach out to other librarians of Polish descent or who serve Polish communities for membership in PALA.
Librarians present were Rafal Kasprowski of Texas, Andrew Sankowski of New York, and Alice Calabrese-Berry, Elizabeth Marszalik, Carol Dolin, Gosia Bylinska, Ronald Stoch, and myself, all from Illinois, where PALA was organized with the assistance of the library at Chicago’s Polish Museum of America, where I had the privilege of keynoting the association’s first annual meeting in February.