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Sandy Newell Memorial

Share Your Stories About Sandy

Sandy Newell tribute

Friday, September 25, 2020
10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Eastern
Register for the tribute. 

Please join the Division of Library and Information Services in paying tribute to Sandy Newell’s lifelong contributions to adult and family literacy throughout Florida.

If you would like to share a short story or anecdote with the online assembled group, please contact us at [email protected] or 850.245.6603.

We welcome your participation!

Letter from the Bureau Chief

Dear Florida Library Community: 

It is with sad hearts that the Bureau of Library Development, Division of Library and Information Services announces the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Sandy Newell, on February 26, 2020. She was a passionate supporter of Florida's libraries over the 28 years she worked in the Bureau and will be greatly missed. 

Sandy began her library and adult education career in 1975 at the Northwest Regional Library System in Panama City. Before joining the Bureau in 1992, she was the Director of the Jefferson County Public Library in Monticello, Florida from 1985 to 1987 and Director of the Thomas County Public Library System in Thomasville, Georgia from 1988 to 1992. 

While a consultant in the Bureau of Library Development, Sandy wore many hats (Sandy was known by all for her unique style and her hats!). She was an expert in the various administrative permutations of Florida libraries and shared her knowledge with all new library administrators (especially those new to Florida) as they got settled in their positions. Sandy was a go-to person for library administrators and staff—answering questions, discussing policy issues and facilitating library development. She acted as a sounding board to help solve problems. She was always willing to share information, both with the library community and with her co-workers, embracing new ways and technologies to distribute information. 

Sandy had a passion for literacy and adult learners. She and her late husband, Jack, were known as the “library literacy couple.” Between them, they started volunteer literacy programs from Key West to Pensacola. Sandy received the 2018 Mary J. Brogan Leadership Award for her efforts to support and improve adult literacy in Florida. 

In addition to this achievement, Sandy was active in the American Library Association and helped establish the organization’s National Library Literacy Award. She also served as Secretary of the Florida Library Association and was active in that group throughout her library career. 

So many people in Florida have benefited directly or indirectly from Sandy’s work. In addition to her literacy activities, Sandy helped counties establish library services, with a special focus on rural areas, seniors, those with disabilities or special needs, Friends groups and more. 

How rich we all are for having known Sandy. 

To honor Sandy and her legacy of service, the Bureau is collecting photos, stories and reminiscences about her, and would appreciate any you could share with us. These will be compiled and given to her family. Please send these stories and photos to [email protected]. At this time, no services have been planned. 



Claudia Holland, Chief

Bureau of Library Development

imls180.for.panel.jpgMany of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Florida's LSTA program is administered by the Department of State's Division of Library and Information Services.