PMA Library News 2009
Summer has passed – the library was visited many times by scholars, researchers, friends and readers. It was a very busy time.
PMAL celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the Brookfield Zoo. We had a booth with promotional materials about our institution, we also taught the party guests “Sto lat” in Polish and performed it life on stage. Our zoologistic representation was: Jan M. Lorys, Elzbieta and Czesław Brudek.
During the American Library Association Conference in July we were visited by the 6 prominent guests connected to Polish culture. One of them - Wanda Urbańska, the key note speaker at the conference visited us with Candice and Wally Wiza from Polonia, WI as well as Leonard Kniffel, our friend and the editor of the ALA Newsletter. We were also visited by 2 librarians of the Polish descent, Rafal Kasprowski from Rice University, Houston, TX and Thomas Duszak from State Library of Pennsylvania who offered help and guidance with our database transformation and are in contact with us.
Over the Summer Czeslaw Brudek from Bogoria, Poland was helping the Museum. He was archivizing the collection of documents of Jan M. Lorys as well as helping the librarians with their tasks. He wrote about the library and the museum on his blog.
Our second Loyola intern – Brooke Finlayson worked conscienciously on her duties and completed her studies – we wish her well with her endeavors. During her internship Brooke met her high school teacher, James Conroyd Martin who brought PMAL his second novel translated into Polish (all of his novels in Polish and English are great and available in the PMAL). It was a very pleasant surprise for both of them.
We have new 2 students from Loyola working with us: Marek Dymon and David Tomasik, who are very helpful with the multiple donations we accept. Their muscle power is a plus with handling the everyday donations and the migration of the books prepared for the duplicate book sale. Their gracefulness as well as chivalry with helping the female workers is outstanding.
PMAL is enriched with interns, thanks to the cooperation with Bozena Nowicka McLees, Director of Interdisciplinary Polish Studies from Loyola University Chicago, Modern Languages and Literatures Department. We recently received major donations from the Polish Womens Alliance as well as a collection of John Paul II books (300), tapes (21), archivalia, clippings, and newspapers (216) from – Mr. Arkadiusz Waliński.
I was a guest of the Bishop Hill Folk Festival on August 1, where I had an opportunity to talk about Polish pisanki. Our Polish booth was very popular. I had an opportunity to be in the panel discussion with a Ukrainian pysanki artist. Vera and I we were able to make comparisons of our cultures. I hope that someday Poles will have such a place for our culture as Swedes have for theirs! This is a great place to recommend for an autumn get-away, full of galleries, antique and art shops, restaurants, great artists and extraordinary peacefulness.
On one Wednesday we had the pleasure of a mini-concert given by Evgen Malinowski, a bard from Siberia. He entertained the workers, volunteers and guests of PRCUA and PMA free of charge. He was brought here by our Library patron and friend Ewa Uszpolewicz. Evgen played many concerts in Chicago while studying at a local university. He has returned to Poland where he plays in theatre as well as in TV.
We were visited by our longtime friend and co-worker Mrs. Anna Białek with her son and daughter-in-law as well as brother from Poland. Mrs. Anna still reads actively and exchanges the books in our library. We miss her in the building.
Our members from Philadelphia visited us as well: Maria and Marek Kolenda are among our distant cooperators. Maria is a director of Polish School and an organizer of the Polish parade.
Mr. Richard G. Wezowski donated recently an antique radio to the PMAL. It is an interesting addition to our antique and one-of-a-kind style.
Our volunteer Joseph Mullins has recovered from his sickness and brought us his new joint – publication. His chapter is available in the library.
During the Volunteer appreciation evening we had the pleasure of socializing with our PMAL legend - Sabina Logisz, who visited us. Many friends from the PMA wanted to chat with Madame Sabina during the event. The whole event was written about in the Polish Daily News Dziennik Zwiazkowy by Andrzej Baraniak. Ms. Logisz was the main topic motive of the article.
Over the course of many years we made friends with the Polish Jesuits. They come to visit us once in a while. Thanks to our PMA volunteer – Barbara Kożuchowska we were visited by the guests from Kraków.
We cooperate as well with the priests from the Society of Christ and we were visited by the director of their worldwide library in Poznan, father Paweł Melczewski who impressed us with their collection online, catalogued with an American program. During father Melczewski’s stay in the Chicago area we had a few conversations about our mutual problems and various approaches. Our cooperation will hopefully bring books exchange. Father Melczewski became a member of the PMA.
Just recently we were visited on the same day by three scholars from Poland: Jolanta Fiszbak, PhD (Didactics and Literature of Polish Language, Lodz University), Teresa Sanocka, MA (Foreign Language Study, Lodz University and Krzysztof Zajas, PhD from the International Polish Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow.
Currently we are working on a very important project – we are preparing the lists of the books published before 1945 which are in the PMAL possession. It is our goal to list all before the 100th Anniversary of the Library which will happen on April 18, 2015. We hope to select the books that need immediate attention with deacidification and get professional help from Poland. The old books are very dusty and some are in bad condition. The Library wish list has an air purifier – cost $800.
Marlene Gil, our PMA Library Committee member has passed away. She was always enjoying helping us with our annual book sale. Our sincere condolences are extended to Kenneth Gill.
Our Mentor and Volunteer Esther Witek became the Legacy lifetime member. Thank you for working so hard, being a friend and supporter!
On October 10, 4:30 PM in the Great Hall there will be an evening with the author Cynthia Grant Bowman and the hero – Maria Chudzińska of a book “Beyond the Uprising: A Polish Girl's Journey”. Everyone is invited – join us! The mini book-sale will be held during our December events – so please consider coming and adopting books.
This year we continued our Easter PMA workshops outside of the PMA. I went with Halina Misterka to the well equipped Indian Trails Library in Wheeling on April 2nd. It was a great pleasure to meet with new people who are discovering different talents. We had a wonderful time when Maria Grzadziel and Jola Zachara joined us. I prepared the special power point presentation about the art of pisanki. The attendees were people from Wheeling, Arlington Heights and the surrounding areas who are familiar with the PMA, but cannot come often enough due to lengthy distances. The host was Ms. Elva Arreola – thank you very much for organizing such a wonderful event, for your preparations and cooperation. The PMA appreciates it greatly.
For the first time in the recent history of PMA, the Fryderyk Chopin Polish School visited us on Saturday. The visit took place on April 4th. The young students and their teachers came with 8 buses and were very well behaved. They were divided into two large groups. I presented a PowerPoint to each group about the history of the PMA, as well as a quiz by director Jan Lorys. The school directors - Mr. and Mrs. Barczyk were very happy to receive a discounted price for the visit, and PMA is grateful that they considered visiting us as well as helping with their donation.
On April 4th there was another PMA Easter presentation at the Des Plaines History Center. It consisted of a double lecture with a PowerPoint presentation and step-by-step explanations throughout. Ewa Hefko was a perfect assistant, helping me with drying the eggs and selling the items from the gift shop. Interesting people who wanted to know everything about our techniques surrounded us. We also met a professional egg artist, who lives in Des Plaines. Her name is Ms. Magda Grabowski, and she invited us to her home to share her knowledge with us. Des Plaines History Center is a very interesting place where wonderful people meet. Visit them at 781 Pearson Street or www.desplaineshistory.org. Thanks to Susan Golland (Programs Manager), we had an opportunity to promote our institution and learn their techniques. We were also given the original eggshells of goose eggs.
Among our dear patrons are many great people – one of them is Elżbieta Kochanowska-Michalik, a famous Polish-American artist. Mrs. Kochanowska uses books for research in the PMA Library and creates Polish poetry evenings. All should attend at least one evening.
On April 18th, Arthur Todriff, relative of the Dumas’ family, visited the PMA Library. He donated the John Paul II plates, and silverware that he ate from and all the papal work from the Drake Hotel in memory of his mother and grandmother Roslanowski (his grandmother was a Dumas) to the PMA. I was captivated by the story of this PMA benefactor.
Thanks to the cooperation with Bozena Nowicka McLees, PhD and Director of Interdisciplinary Polish Studies from Loyola University Chicago, Modern Languages and Literatures, PMAL is enriched with interns. Our first intern from Loyola was Tomasz Budz. He set an exceptional example for his followers. He was extremely helpful to everyone, he assisted Esther Witek with the preparation of our annual duplicate booksale. He helped with cross-referencing the Hejna donation, and managed in the meantime to write a very good essay on the Polish-American Medical Society. We hope to keep in contact with this modest young man and we wish him the best.
Over the course of many years we made friends. Even though they do not frequently visit the PMA, they do come once in a while and very often bring new gifts. They do not even want a thank you letter. One of these friends is Małgorzata Ogrodnik.
Frequently scholars from the US use our archives as their main research place. The materials are viewed in the PMA Library.
We are in the process of the buying a new database program for the library. Ewa Hefko, Tomasz Budz and many others work on the Library Database
The intersection of Augusta and Milwaukee is very dangerous. Workers of the PMA witness minor and major crashes each month. This time the Chicago Fire Department helped a young woman named Ashley after the crash.
On the same day, April 25, dr Izabela Roman, PhD visited us with her guests Natalia Babicz-Bereźnicka - artist from Sopot, Poland and Barbara Witman from Gdańsk. Dr Roman came to the doors when firefighters were helping Ashley. She helped her as a doctor right away by examining her. Then the guests were given a VIP tour of the museum.
On April 29 we had a visit of an author and Harley Davidson fan – Wojtek Echilczuk, he wrote a wonderful history of the motorcycles and Poland. He donated 2 books in Polish and 1 in English titled “Harley – my pal” to the PMAL. He was accompaigned by Robert Wargenau, Anna Łanka, Katarzyna Jasek, Jacek Kawczyński and his son, Piotr Echilczuk. We hope they join the PMA.
During the May 3rd celebration a friendly politician, Alderman of Katowice, Jozef Zawadzki, visited PMA. His assistant Malgorzata Labaj as well as President of Biomasa Slask, Sebastian Olaf Stiller, accompanied him. They became members of the PMA (benefactors and institutional). We hope that they will set an example for other visitors. We have been invited to Katowice. Our members are around the globe.
On May 6 Nettelhorst Elementary School visited. Children were given a library lesson; they did research about famous Poles and had a tour of the museum. It was a very organized event; we enjoyed working with the students, chaperones and the teachers. Pictures are available on our website http://www.polishmuseumofamerica.org/english/ActivePages/PhotoAlbums/nettelhorst2.htm. Our volunteer Esther Witek enjoyed answering the questions of the young students.
On May 9 in the Polish Museum Great Hall was an evening with the author Alex Storozynski. It was a joint event with The Chicago Chapter of the Kosciuszko Foundation. As we read in the press release: the presentation and signing of the book “The Peasant Prince”, written by Mr. Alex Storozynski, prominent American Journalist and recently elected President of the Kosciuszko Foundation of New York. Alex Storozynski is a Pulitzer Prize winner, a former member of the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS editorial board, founding editor of AMNEWYORK, and former editor of the NEW YORK SUN. His book is a new and largely unknown story of Tadeusz Kosciuszko, hero of the United States and Poland. The Peasant Prince is a biography of Kosciuszko, who Jefferson called “as pure a son of liberty as I have ever known, and of that liberty which is to go to all, and not to the few or rich alone”. In his quest for liberty, Kosciuszko worked with George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and the French Revolutionaries, while struggling against the tyranny of Russia’s Catherine the Great and Napoleon Bonaparte. The Peasant Prince is the unknown story of Kosciuszko’s life, liberty, and pursuit of tolerance in an era of revolution. See also http://www.peasantprince.com or http://www.kosciuszkofoundation.org. We had a wonderful time and Dziennik Zwiazkowy and Narod Polski published articles about our event.
Currently we have four new people working in the library. Mrs. Krystyna Nowakowska from Legnica, Poland is visiting the PMA for the third time. She is helping to organize and catalog the Paderewski artifacts. The next person is our second Loyola intern, Brooke Finlayson. She is helping with making the PMAL database, making lists of rare books and researching Polish immigration. The third is Angelica Kalisz (not in this picture), helping with organizing exhibits, translating, and making the inventory lists of the PMA collection. Last, but not least is our intern from Paris, Dominika Raczka who speaks French, Polish and English. She translates letters, helps with cataloguing, and even plays part-time librarian when needed. We all enjoy working together.
During the summer months we are actively preparing for the annual booksale which will take place in Autumn. Everyone is invited! Remember, it’s an annual fund-raiser for our library.
Give books a home and they will repay you with wisdom!