Sandy Dolnick was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Wisconsin Library Association annual meeting in Wisconsin Dells on October 19, 2017.
Sandra (Sandy) Friedman Dolnick (1936-2016), a Milwaukee native, became an extraordinarily effective advocate for libraries during the last quarter of the 20th century. Her efforts started out unassumingly as a member of the Friends of the Whitefish Bay Public Library. She was actively involved in the Friends of Wisconsin Libraries (FOWL) which was founded on April 21, 1963. FOWL was dedicated to promoting the formation of local chapters in support of local libraries and to working on the state level to improve statewide library services. FOWL later merged with the Wisconsin Library Association Trustees Division to form the Library Trustees & Friends Division. Building on the friends of libraries experience in Wisconsin Dolnick proposed in 1975 the idea of uniting library friends groups throughout the United States with the publication of a newsletter to share best practices. At that time, she served on a Friends Committee within the Library Leadership and Management Association of the American Library Association (ALA). With the assistance of ALA, she subsequently surveyed all known library friends groups in the U.S. Her newsletter became so successful that it led to the founding of Friends of Libraries USA (FOLUSA) in 1979. Dolnick served as the executive director of FOLUSA for 23 years, during which time she established strong partnerships with publishers and corporate sponsors. She retired as executive director in 2002. In 2009 FOLUSA merged with the American Library Association and became United for Libraries: Association of Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations. Dolnick was also a member of the Milwaukee Booksellers, now the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library, and served as its president.
Sandra Friedman Dolnick was born Nov. 26, 1936 in Milwaukee. A first generation American, she was brought up with a strong work ethic and sense of community service. She attended Campus School, Riverside High School and the University of Wisconsin. In 1957 she married Lee Dolnick, a young media executive, and raised four daughters while volunteering for school and local library functions. She later remarried and relocated to Philadelphia, PA. She died on Dec. 11, 2016 at the age of 80.
This Hall of Fame entry has been adapted from an article in “The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle” dated Dec. 23, 2016.