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Kasia is one of the Polish people of 2023


The praise of the Polish department of Hafnarfjörður´s Library has reached beyond Iceland. Last autumn, Katarzyna Chojnowska, Kasia, a librarian, was rewarded for her hard work promoting Polish culture. The President of Poland has thanked her and the library in particular for her contribution.

The Polish department of the library gets praised

“People are so happy with the service, to be able to retain their culture as soon as they get to know Icelandic,” says Katarzyna Chojnowska, Kasia, who has worked at Hafnarfjörður´s Library for three years. She has strengthened the Polish department of the library and cultural activities. “We do a lot here at the library to honor Polish culture,” says Kasia, who received international recognition last autumn for her work at the library. She took 2nd place in the Polish Person of the Year competition, Osobowość Polonijna Roku It is an honorary award in memory of Edyta Felsztyńska, who died of cancer in 2017.

Sigrún Guðnadóttir, director of the library, and Katarzyna Chojnowska, Kasia, who received the international recognition before the end of the year 2023 for her cultural work at the library.

Kasia the first in Iceland to receive the recognition award

Kasia is the first in this country to receive the recognition award. She was one of ten Poles outside of Poland who received this recognition for remarkably promoting Polish culture. Kasia emphasizes that she doesn’t do things alone. “I work here with a wonderful staff who have supported and encouraged me,” she says. Sigrún Guðnadóttir, director of the library, is very proud of Kasia and the recognition. “We were incredibly lucky when we got Kasia.” She is very well connected in the Polish community; the embassy, the Polish school and the Catholic Church. “We have benefited greatly from it.” The Polish department has grown with Kasia.

Get a chance to connect

Kasia organizes various events that promote Polish culture. “We invite everyone who is interested, give them a chance to show off and share their story. We encourage them and tell them not to be afraid, but to start talking and practicing Icelandic, getting to know people, the library and Iceland.”

The selection of Hafnarfjörður´s Library books in Polish is very good and among the best in Iceland. The cultural events are numerous. March 23rd will be one of the most popular Polish events of the year. Then Easter eggs will be painted at the library, an annual event that has been a hit. Hard-boiled eggs are painted in all the colours of the rainbow, as is a tradition in Poland.

“It’s a lot of fun, and every year more and more people come,” says Kasia. We’re even planning to do it in two groups this year.” People from all countries participate. “Yes, Icelanders love it too, and I often see the same faces year after year. That is so great. We all sit and start talking to each other.”

She describes how the egg painting breaks the ice. “We are afraid when we don’t know each other well enough. But when we start talking, we break down barriers. Poles know that it’s good to learn, be open, learn about other people’s culture, but also show that we have fun traditions.”

A way to be a part of the community

Kasia says the library also celebrates classic older traditions. “Yes, the work we do here at the library helps us understand our community but it is also for the community to better understands us. It’s about being a part of the community, not separating yourself from it.”

Kasia is an educator, theologian and has a diploma in librarianship. She has lived in Iceland for sixteen years. Here she and her husband have had two daughters. “All the best things have happened here,” she says.

Congratulations to Kasia, and The Library of Hafnarfjörður!

Upcoming events:

Krysztof J. Szymanski – Opening of an art show

Easter egg painting! Wspólne malowanie pisanek!


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