The Friends & Foundation


The Friends and Foundation of the Princeton Public Library supports the library’s mission to connect people with ideas, information, technology, resources and each other in ways that enrich their lives and help them to realize their dreams.

The library has a rich history dating back more than 100 years, but the strength of the library is its ability to remain meaningful and contemporary in an ever-changing world. A gift to the Friends and Foundation will provide the support necessary for the library to continue to meet the challenges and needs of the next century.


About the Friends and Foundation

The Friends and Foundation of the Princeton Public Library was originally established as the Princeton Public Library Foundation in 1996 by a group of citizens who realized that the annual $1 million gap between public support and the cost of providing leading-edge library services could jeopardize the library’s long-term health. The Foundation was incorporated in 1997 and amended in 2022 to merge with the Friends of the Princeton Public Library.

The merged organization seeks to combine the strengths of its two predecessor boards; the Foundation’s mission has been to manage Princeton Public Library’s endowment and fund the long-term needs of the library, and the Friends of the Princeton Public Library’s mission has been to support and enhance the library, engage new audiences, and provide for the short-term needs of the library through the Friends’ fundraising. Collectively, the purpose of the merged organization is to continue these goals with a renewed and reinvigorated focus and emphasis on advocating for the library, building a community of library supporters, enhancing the visibility of the Princeton Public Library and, importantly, increasing the Friends and Foundation of the Princeton Public Library’s fundraising capacity.

The Friends and Foundation has pursued its original vision of generating private-sector support to provide a stable source of funding for the library. This income supplements the generous tax-based funding (nearly 75 percent of operating costs) provided by the municipality of Princeton, NJ. A lead gift from George and Estelle Sands created an endowment fund in 2003, following a successful building campaign. Since then, private contributions have been used to support new acquisitions, to reimagine the second floor, and to enhance programming and services.


Funds & Grants

The Mary S. Wisnovsky Fund for Acquisitions at the Princeton Public Library

The Mary S. Wisnovsky Fund for Acquisitions (“the Fund”) has been established in memory of Mary Wisnovsky. Mary and the library were inseparable. Her enthusiasm, expertise, exquisite taste and sheer love of the library were essential to making it into the beloved and viable institution it is today. The Fund will be used for the purchase of the library’s print and digital collections, which are all purchased through private funding. And while physical books form the core of the library’s collection, of particular need now is the purchase of digital materials to benefit an ever-growing diverse and often underserved audience.

Donate online here or by check to The Friends and Foundation of the Princeton Public Library for The Mary S. Wisnovsky Fund for Acquisitions. Checks can be mailed to Princeton Public Library, 65 Witherspoon St. Princeton, NJ 08542.

The Willard T.C. Johnson Challenge Grant for Building Stewardship

As facilities age they require significant investment to ensure that the space is updated and refreshed to meet changing needs. To meet this challenge a Building Stewardship Endowment was created. This targeted endowment fund provides the funding resources required to maintain a world-class public library facility that can adapt to the ever changing needs of future generations.

Through the extraordinary kindness and vision of long-time library supporter Betty Wold Johnson, the library received a $1 million challenge grant to be used as an incentive toward building the Stewardship Fund. Every gift raised toward the challenge was matched dollar for dollar.

Jean Featherly Byrne Endowment Fund for Children’s Literature

The Jean F. Byrne Endowment Fund for Children’s Literature was established in 2015 by Barbara and Tom Byrne in honor of Tom’s mother, the former first lady of New Jersey, Jean Featherly Byrne, whose patience and kindness were a beacon to young children. Jean Featherly Byrne was a champion of programs in support of children and we are pleased to continue her legacy at the library.


Board of Directors


Courtney Lederer

Shalu Naso

Sohini Rath
Vice President

Brett Shaver

Jennifer Podolsky
Library Director

Estelle M. Sands
Founding Director


  • Swati Bhatt
  • Audrey Egger
  • Jane Fransson
  • Christie Henry
  • Florence Kahn
  • Nicky Katz
  • Seva Kramer
  • Beth Leman
  • Ann Parker McKeehan
  • Stefanie Rossitto 
  • Dina Shaw
  • Jane Silverman
  • Andrew Sutphin

Click here to read the Friends and Foundation’s Press release on Princeton Patch.

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