Longtime Local Volunteer and Librarian Kathy Sullivan Dies

Kathleen Sullivan

Malibu librarian and volunteer Kathy Sullivan died on the afternoon of Wednesday, Jan. 13, after months in and out of the hospital. 

Survived by her partner Dean, Sullivan was a 41-year resident of Malibu and a force within the community. Sullivan was a fixture at the local library since 1994; she was well-known by every library regular for her work ethic searching for hard-to-find titles and her great book recommendations.

Sullivan also served as president of Friends of the Malibu Library (FOML), a nonprofit that sells used books and held an annual book fair to fundraise for library events, programs and purchases. As of 2017, the group was donating around $15,000 annually to the library to supplement what the county bought. Sullivan also drove the Bookmobile, a kind of library on wheels. Her route took her from parking lot to parking lot, with stops at Zuma and Topanga, and increased book accessibility within Malibu.

Sullivan also worked with former Malibu Mayor Pamela Conley Ulich: Together, the pair formed the Library Task Force after Sullivan realized Malibu received far fewer resources from the county than other libraries. “The task force found the county was systematically withholding $500,000 per year,” Sullivan told The Malibu Times in 2016. During the next decade, Malibu recovered around $6 million from the county thanks to the task force’s efforts. In 2015, Sullivan received a Citizen of the Year Dolphin Award for her work. 

During Sullivan’s medical treatment, an online fundraiser was established; its creator, Guy Ruiz, wrote, “Dean has worked very, very little during this period caring for her. Their funds are critically exhausted.” 

The GoFundMe is still open. Those who would like to support Dean’s continued costs may donate here.