For immediate release | January 30, 2017

United for Libraries mourns the loss of Sandy Dolnick

BRYN MAWR, Pennsylvania – Sandra (Sandy) Friedman Dolnick, founder and former executive director of Friends of Libraries USA (FOLUSA), the preceding organization to United for Libraries, died on Dec. 11, 2016, after a long illness.

Dolnick first conceived of the idea of uniting Friends of Libraries through the publication of a newsletter sharing best practices when she served on a Friends of the Library committee within ALA’s Library Administration and Management Association (now Library Leadership and Management Association, or LLAMA) in 1975. Dolnick served as executive director of FOLUSA for 23 years, creating strong partnerships with publishers, corporate sponsors, and steadily growing the membership.

In 2009, FOLUSA and the American Library Association (ALA) division the Association for Library Trustees and Advocates (ALTA) joined forces to become an expanded division of ALA known as the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, now United for Libraries.

“When I took over from Sandy, I knew I had big shoes to fill,” said United for Libraries Executive Director Sally Gardner Reed. “Because she laid a great foundation for working with library support groups across the country and connecting them with one another, I had the perfect roadmap to continue her legacy work.”

“Sandy Dolnick was kind, fierce, funny and whip smart,” said Virginia Stanley, director of library marketing at HarperCollins. “She worked tirelessly on behalf of library Friends groups, forming FOLUSA – an organization dedicated to helping Friends support their local libraries. Sandy was greatly admired by publishers, authors and librarians across the country. She was an author, an activist and an innovator.”

With Dolnick’s encouragement and support, HarperCollins partnered with FOLUSA to create the annual Barbara Kingsolver Award, which for 10 years awarded $10,000 for the purchase of books to an outstanding small Friends group whose fundraising efforts greatly benefited their library.

“It was Sandy’s willingness to think outside the box that was directly responsible for the creation of this award – and for countless readers to benefit from the purchase of these books,” said Stanley. “She was a true friend (capital and lower case ‘F’) to libraries and to the larger book world. She will be greatly missed.”

United for Libraries: The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, is a division of the American Library Association that supports those who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries. United for Libraries brings together library trustees, advocates, friends and foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. For more information or to join United for Libraries, visit the United for Libraries website or contact Jillian Wentworth at (312) 280-2161 or


Jillian Wentworth

Marketing/Public Relations Specialist

United for Libraries