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Library in the news June 2012
The newest quarter brought a lot of guests, programs and work.
We have initiated the “Rare Library Book Restoration” program. Monies raised in this fund go to the sympathetic restoration of the Library’s oldest and most unique books. The most precious part of this collection is the 200 volumes of rare books and old prints from the 16th to the 18th century. The subject matter ranges widely, although dominated by historical and historical-geographical works, as well as books on law, rules and regulations. Thanks to the last article emphasizing the importance of preserving and conserving the oldest and most rare books in the PMAL collection – our longtime friend and donor from Texas, Deborah Greenlee, donated a generous amount of money so that we could start our preservation process. We are very appreciative.
After a long-time discussion with Professor James E. Twomey, MS, Book & Paper Conservator (Book Restoration Co., more info at http://biblebinders.com/), Professional Associate, American Institute for Conservation and Adjunct Professor at Dominican University, we decided to start with the oldest books and those most in need of conservation. During the fall semester of 2011 at Dominican University, in the class Introduction to the Conservation and Preservation, I frequently mentioned the condition of books in the possession of the PMA. I wrote my final paper about the history of PMA’s conservation efforts, so the professor was familiar with the entire picture. He was able to visit the PMAL in May. He was given a tour of our premises and storage places and did a professional evaluation of the book storage. He shared some great and economically savvy tips with us, so we would be able to better store the books. Professor Twomey met with the PMA officers Maria Ciesla and Joseph A. Drobot Jr. - due to Jan Lorys’ absence because of his trip to Poland. We decided that the professor would begin the process of conservation with tree titles that required the most treatment. In the past, the professor helped de-mold and de-acidify some of the critical rare graphics from the PMA, let the students of Dominican University help, and he donated the needed sprays. This time he also offered to voluntarily restore and conserve one of the graphics. After a close examination Professor Twomey sent us a proposal with the amounts his company will charge for the conservation. After the Executive Committee voted, the proposal was accepted and conservation is now in the process. In the next newsletter we will be proud to present the results.
More funds are needed for the continuous conservation process of the rare books. With three conserved, we have at least 280 books printed before 1750 that need conservation. All pre-1945 books will be entered into a database, a project currently underway. Thanks to the cooperation with the National Library of Poland and The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the Library staff was able to select the rarest and precious books among the non-catalogued and will soon be able to restore and preserve them following the present academic guidelines. In honor of the PMAL’s upcoming 100th Anniversary in 2015, the Library staff plans to publish a complete catalog of the Rare Library Books Collection, highlighting the titles of those newly-restored rare books.
With these projects in place, the PMAL continues to strive in its mission. The library staff catalogs new titles, identifies duplicates, conserves the rarest and best copies, maintains a stable collection, and raises funds for professional assistance in the transforming to an online catalog. For the 100th Anniversary of the Library, the goal is to continue the organizational process and make the Library more accessible to scholars and researchers.
Another friendly professor is helping the PMA. He not only attends our events, but also has donated rare books that are connected with the Polish past. Besides that, he and his students are also helping us during his Descriptive Bibliography Class. Professor Ed Valauskas and his 12 students, who worked on 12 books from the PMAL collection from the 19th century and 12 titles from the 18th century, provided us with a detailed gratis evaluation of our precious – for which we are very grateful. Among the PMAL works evaluated at the Dominican University were rare books in English, French, Latin and Polish.
Thanks to cooperation with the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland, we organized the lecture entitled “To Be or Not To Be a Professional Interpreter” by Dr. Witold Skowronski, internationally renowned conference interpreter and Director and Lecturer at the School of Translation, Interpreting and Languages at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland. The lecture was held on Wednesday, May 30 at Sabina P. Logisz Great Hall and brought more than 100 people. More information can be found at: http://www.stil.amu.edu.pl/index.php/witold-skowronski It was an intellectual feast. Dr. Witold Skowronski told his compelling story of what it is like for a man to have spoken the thoughts of some of the greatest world leaders of our times: Pope John Paul II, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, as well as Presidents Lech Walesa, George Bush, Aleksander Kwasniewski, Bill Clinton, Lech Kaczynski and many more. The lecture also took a look at some of the most significant years of Polish-American relations through the eyes of the man who was at the very heart of where the world leaders were talking.
Thanks to the cooperation with our great volunteer-librarian Esther Witek – we are able to continue the inventory procedures, which are so greatly needed for the library, before the changing of the library system. Many people are helping Ester with this project, among them are Cynthia and Robert Piech (pictured above), brother and sister, who are devoting their time to that Dominican labor.
PGSA and PMA representatives thanked Tadeusz Hoffmann for his long-time volunteer efforts and wished him, his wife Adela, and the whole family health and happiness.
Natalia Kowalewicz, our great volunteer, who is Narod Polski Managing Editor Lidia Kowalewicz’s daughter – returned to volunteer at PMAL as the next Loyola intern. Natalia understands the needs of our library inside out. She is working under the tutelage of Krystyna Grell, PMAL librarian responsible for the newspaper collection and in the meantime is connecting her family’s longtime love to the printed word in a newspaper format.
Helena Miętka, our volunteer originally from Chicago and currently studying in Scripps College in California, is helping the head librarian with another important project – cataloguing and organizing the Rare Books Cymelia collection.
Here the legendary Maria Mirecka Loryś, the PMA director’s mother, helped with the project – emphasizing the importance of preserving the rarest and oldest books of our collection.
PMA Librarian Krystyna Grell attended the Polish Genealogical Society of America’s Annual Conference held April 20-23 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Conference included a variety of lectures and presentations, as well as provided an opportunity to visit the LDS Family History Library, which holds international books, maps, microfilm, and digital databases. The keynote speaker of the Conference was Dr. Barbara Berska, Deputy General Director of State Archives in Poland and Krystyna was able to spend some time with Dr. Berska. As an attendee, Krystyna gained new insights in current genealogy research that will help PMAL patrons and members.
Małgorzata Kot, edited by Teresa Sromek
Krystyna Grell at the Congress accompanied by Jarosław Broda, Director of the Cultural Division of Wroclaw City Hall
PMA Librarian Krystyna Grell was our delegate to the European Culture Congress, Sep. 8-11, 2011, in Wroclaw, Poland. This provided an opportunity of professional networking in Ms. Grell’s hometown, as well as opening the possibilities of future cooperation with this wonderful city’s great resources. Poland had the presidency of the European Union Council from Jul. 1 – Dec. 31, 2011. The European Culture Congress was one of the most important events of the Polish EU Presidency, and included over 100 individual events. We would like to highlight Ms. Grell’s cooperation with the city of Wroclaw that benefited the PMA in the past, and her plans to continue to coordinate with the city of Wroclaw in the future. She also bought new publications for the PMAL collections during this visit.
NL specialists Karolina Skalska, Maria Wróblewska, Jan Loryś, Jolanta Byczkowska-Sztaba, Mariola Nałęcz
PMA cooperated for the 5th time with specialists from the National Library (NL) in Poland. In 2006, PMA Director Jan M. Lorys visited the NL in Poland and started a program in conjunction with the institution’s director, Tomasz Makowski, for conservation and preservation of the PMA Music Collections. In Aug. 2007, NL specialists first visited the PMA, and these cataloging assistance visits have continued for the last five years. Four professionals visiting every year for three weeks has resulted in a database and partial listing of our holdings in the NL database (will be added to the PMA’s future database if compatible), as well as in professional literature. Thanks to this process, duplicates have been weeded out, music sheets are stored in the archival boxes, and records are stored in the acid-free sleeves custom-made at the NL in Warsaw for the PMA. Piano rolls have been de-acidified by Midwest FreezeDry, in Lincolnwood, IL, and are now catalogued and stored in special archival boxes. The process is on-going and sponsored by the Polish Ministry of Culture and The National Library of Poland.
Panel participants and audience, left: James Pula, Jan Lorys, Joanna Wojdon, Bozena Nowicka McLees, Peter Obst, Neal Pease, (PAHA president), Ewa Barczyk, Victoria Granacki, Maria Ciesla, Thomas Duszak, Maja Trochimczyk, Anna Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann, Krystyna Grell, Piotr Derengowski, Małgorzata Kot
The end of the year brought us a lot of changes. Thanks to the ongoing cooperation with many of our volunteers and donors – PMAL grows as a repository of Polish books. Motivated by Professor James Pula, PhD, I participated in Polish American Historical Association’s 2012 Annual Meeting that took place at the Sheraton Hotel, on Jan. 5-7, 2012. Our panel, Chicago, the Capital of Polish America, chaired by Maja Trochimczyk, Moonrise Press, presented papers: Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Artist, Statesman, Humanitarian: The Chicago Connection by Victoria Granacki, Granacki Historic Consultants; The Polish Museum of America Library: Preparing for the 100th Anniversary in 2015 by Małgorzata Kot; "Greasy Thumb": The Underside of Chicago Polonia by James Pula, Purdue University North Central; and Illinois State Division of the Polish American Congress in the Cold War Era, 1944–88 by Joanna Wojdon, Uniwersytet Wroclawski. During my presentation, I described briefly the history of the Library, our collections, our assessment and preservation work to date, as well as our future plans (excerpts below).
Books in The Polish Museum of America Library (PMAL) are often special, rare, and autographed. PMAL staff and volunteers have diligently been reorganizing and updating the Museum’s extensive book collection. Duplicates are sold at the annual book sale held every summer, a source of funds for further Library development. At PMAL, we are surrounded by “dead” books - about 45% of the collection is printed between 1890 and 1945. These books are deteriorating and need de-acidification and scanning. Over the years, the donated books have begun to overflow our shelves and storage spaces. They have been like an ocean tide. (…) Every week, PMAL accepts a few boxes of books.
Krystyna Stanska and her donation autographed by the author, Waldemar Łysiak
Stanisław Maziarka with one of his many donations
Betty Iwanski (standing) and Florianne Budzikowski-VanRooyan presenting new donation from Natalie Budzikowski (mother), author of "Having Fun the Polish Way".
Our volunteer Barbara Jakacka working with recent donation from Grażyna Skoczeń
Mr. Lorys and T.S. Pochron at Panorama Publishing
Alina Barnas, Miguel Tomas,and Thomas McLees recording the T.S. Pochron donation that was unpacked, entered into a MS Excel database, two of each were retained for the PMAL, and the rest were marked for the duplicate booksale 2012
With the structure of serious studying and professional literature, we now can take control and apply norms, protect the assets of the collection, and ourselves, their servers. We have to find the best possible resolution to the influx of materials and organize the work of our limited staff so we will not be overwhelmed with the amount of donations and responsibilities.
Many of the rare prints from the PMAL collection are ready to be digitized. All of the technology involved in the process will benefit the learning process of the patrons. It is a perfect project for graduate interns, as well as a perfect target for a grant. PMAL is open to future cooperation with students; currently, we work with Loyola University, Dominican University, and Northeastern Illinois University, but we are eager for broader internships that can benefit all of our respective institutions, as well as the Polish community here and abroad. Our great collection of ex-libris is digitized and ready to be fully catalogued in PastPerfect. The bookplates were collected by Bilinski and fill five albums arranged by theme, and include both personal and institutional plates. The collection also includes several catalogs and pamphlets from the American Society of Bookplate Collectors and Designers, of which Rev. Biliński was a member, which also contain many bookplates designed by artists from a wide range of styles.
Examples of the newly donated Cymelias
There are close to 7,000 uncatalogued pre-1945 items, which we were able to discover and identify thanks to the search options. We were also able to organize Cymelia, or Rare Books, which currently number over 150 items. Adding to the database helps indicate immediately what is in critical need of attention. According to our studies, we should begin with the oldest and rarest materials. The best way will be encapsulating, and consulting a specialist about constructing a long-range plan of the conservation of the rare books. Because Polonica are taken care of, and the collection has a designated person in charge of its preservation, working in agreement with PMA superiors, the main focus should be put on restoring and properly preserving PMA’s rare prints by sympathetic restoration and de-acidification. The staff is being trained in constructing clamshell boxes, and a small restoration space could be established in the PMAL specifically for the use of water-soluble de-acidification and spraying of approximately 200 volumes from the collection. The PMAL can apply for grants for the treatment and encapsulation of documents. As donations come in, we will be able to purchase conservation storage boxes for books.
The PMAL enjoys a professional relationship with the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America, the National Library in Warsaw, Loyola University Polish Studies, and Dominican University. The Library also hosts the Polish Genealogical Society in America (every Wed., 10 a.m-noon) and the Polish American Librarians Association, to which the PMA librarians proudly belong (we invite you to the PALA 2nd Annual Open House on Feb. 19 at PMA - please register at www.palalib.org), among many other societies.
Farewell to Piotr Narel, our 6th intern from Loyola University.
Alina Barnaś (front) is our 7th intern from Loyola University, and Katherine Nguyen (back) is our 8th intern from Loyola.
The Library graciously serves thousands of patrons and sincerely hopes to expand its services to many more patrons at an increased level. In addition to the Head Librarian, Malgorzata Kot, the Library also relies on the services of Krystyna Grell, Librarian; Teresa Sromek, Assistant Archivist and Librarian; Lisa A. Terlecki, Museum Assistant; Leonrad Kurdek, Museum Assistant; Esther Witek, Volunteer Librarian, Jan M. Lorys, PMA Director; Maria Ciesla, PMA President; Mitchell Kmiec, PMA Treasurer; Halina Misterka, PMA Archivist; Monika Nowak, PMA Curator; Julita Siegel, PMA Photo Collection Curator; Anna Wolan, PMA Tour Guide; Kasia Sobieraj-Tesar, PMA Tour Guide; Rich Kujawa, PMA Operations Manager, and the numerous library volunteers, who come in to donate their valuable time and effort (Tom Laskowski, Hank Kulesza, Halina Bieniewska, Bogusława Yon, Elżbieta Kapuścińska, Kenneth Nowakowski, Agnieszka Bastrzyk, Jacek Niemczyk, Idalia Błaszczyk, Lidia Kowalewicz, Melanie Wilson, Barbara Jakacka, Piotr Narel, Alina Barnaś, Katherine Nguyen, Tomasz McLees, Virginia Witucke).
The PMAL wholeheartedly appreciates the help offered by volunteers, of whom we have a constant need. We try to do as much as possible to keep down costs, and together, we accomplish wonders. The process of computerization started in Dec. 2011 with the PastPerfect Museum Software 5, thanks to the cooperation with Chicago Cultural Alliance and special training sessions provided by this consortium and implemented by Ms. Candice Raisin-Ghani. PMAL staff was able to upload various MS Excel databases created over the past years into a combined database that is searchable for every PMA employee. Thanks to it, all collections will eventually be visible and searchable on the Internet. PMAL is still in a process of searching for an operational program for the lending library and we are in the process of discussions with Polish provider MAK+ that is very attractive due to its reasonable costs.
Grzegorz Gauden at PMAL
During the Oct. 7 Dar Serca Event, we met with Grzegorz Gauden, Director of The Book Institute from Poland (www.bookinstitute.pl), and toured the PMAL. We expressed our concerns in our quest to find the best possible program for PMAL. Mr. Gauden promised to ask within his organization and offered a program that his institute is creating for the National Library in Poland, called MAK +. He asked the director of programming to contact us and to explain all the advantages of such a program. We hope that the possibility of transfer will save all of the hard work we spent cataloguing with the Card Master Plus program.
Congratulations to PMA friend, Piotr Uzarowicz, on the great success of his film, The Officer’s Wife. We are grateful that we were able to help in the process and appreciate acknowledgement in the film credits. Piotr visited us with his mother, Betty Uzarowicz, PMA Board member. They donated an autographed copy of the film to PMAL, which has been cataloged and in constant circulation.
We would like to express our thanks to the author, Julia Burnatowicz, who wrote a wonderful short story about a special museum and library tour of the Tadeusz Kosciuszko Polish School. The short story, titled “Duchy w muzeum. Opowiadanie na czasie” [Ghosts in the museum. The story of the time] appeared in the Fall Głos Nauczyciela [Teacher’s Voice] edited by PMAL’s friend Helena Ziółkowska. Mieczyslaw Haiman helped two schoolboys with their homework – for the rest of the story we encourage those of you who read Polish to read the quarterly.
Winter is perfect for reading. Please visit us! PMAL is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Wednesdays from 1 p.m.-7 p.m. The Polish Museum Library Facebook page is frequently updated with news and events. For further information, please do not hesitate to call us. Thank you for your patronage!
This Library News Archive Index is your link to historical news reports From The Librarian.
|NEWS ARCHIVE YEAR||NEWS START DATE||NEWS END DATE|
|2010||January, 2010||October, 2010|
|2009||June, 2009||December, 2009|