Executive Director Dionne Mack-Harvin to Leave Brooklyn Public Library

March 5, 2010
Malika L. Granville, Marketing & Communications Associate
Brooklyn Public Library
Phone: 718.230.2211
m.granville@brooklynpubliclibrary.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Executive Director Dionne Mack-Harvin to Leave Brooklyn Public Library

(Brooklyn, NY) March 4, 2010 – After 14 years of service at Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), Executive Director Dionne Mack-Harvin announced that she will be leaving the institution at the end of June. Her departure comes after a string of achievements in positions in the organization including Director, Central Library; Chief of Staff; and Interim Executive Director. Mack-Harvin was named BPL’s 11th Executive Director in 2007.

In her role as Executive Director, Mack-Harvin became the first African American to lead BPL —the fifth largest public library system in the United States, with 60 libraries located across Brooklyn. BPL serves as a community resource for the 2.5 million residents of New York City’s most populous borough, providing free and open access to books, DVDs, CDs, and technological and online resources, including more than 1,100 public computers and the largest WiFi network in Brooklyn. BPL also offers a wide range of educational, cultural, and business programs that cut across Brooklyn’s demographic distinctions and ethnically diverse population. The library circulates more than 17 million items per year, and in 2009, welcomed more than 13 million visitors.

“Brooklyn Public Library and everyone who is a part of this great organization will always be close to my heart,” said Mack-Harvin, who explained that she is excited to continue her highly successful career by pursuing new opportunities in public service. “I am proud of the contributions that I’ve been able to make during my tenure and am truly grateful to BPL’s dedicated team of staff and thousands of loyal supporters, including community partners, donors, volunteers, elected officials and library trustees.”

“Dionne has done a tremendous job at the library and has been a great partner of the Board,” said Anthony Crowell, Chairman of the Board. “Her creativity, hard work, commitment to education, literacy and innovation, and her respect for and knowledge of Brooklyn’s diverse communities are inspiring. We wish Dionne well and she has all of our gratitude and support. ”

Dionne Mack-Harvin began her career at BPL as a librarian at the system’s Crown Heights Library. Her many accomplishments as Executive Director include numerous initiatives to bring BPL into the 21st century. She ushered in the completion of the $17 million Dweck Center for Contemporary Culture at Central Library, and renovation of the landmarked building’s majestic outdoor Plaza, making the pair one of the premiere cultural destinations in Brooklyn; launched a partnership with global delivery company UPS to modernize the daily transport of thousands of library materials between BPL’s 60 locations and the hands of the organization’s library customers; and commissioned an extensive customer research study (Community Needs Assessment) to fully understand how the library can better fulfill the needs of all Brooklyn communities. In 2009, she oversaw the reopening of BPL’s highest circulating neighborhood library, Kings Highway, and in 2007, launched a community fundraising campaign to build collections at BPL’s newly renovated Macon Library and new African American Heritage Center (Buy-a-Book for Macon), which served as a model for the organization’s systemwide community-driven campaign Support Our Shelves.
Mack-Harvin initiated an aggressive customer-focused campaign to re-design BPL’s website, online catalog and library card, and re-register all customers. With her programmatic goals of improving Access, Accommodations, Advocacy, and outreach to new Audiences, she deployed four new Bookmobiles to the communities of Brooklyn– including BPL’s first Spanish-language mobile library, the Bibliobús– and created targeted bilingual programs such as Para Los Niños for the borough’s growing Spanish-speaking population.

Mack-Harvin devoted herself to changing the perception of libraries so they would be viewed as places that “aren’t just for books,” and in a borough hit hard by the recent recession, led the increase in service hours at BPL, making access to the system’s 60 libraries more convenient for customers. Her work to enhance fundraising, marketing and government support resulted in creating an enhanced External Affairs team and committee of staff advocates to raise private support and public awareness for BPL.

As Executive Director, Mack-Harvin received numerous accolades, including Crain’s New York Business “40 Under 40” and the Brooklyn Reading Council’s Friend of Literacy Award in 2008; The Network Journal’s “40 Under 40 Dynamic Achievers” in 2009; and the John E. Burton Distinguished Public Service Award in 2010. Her accomplishments also include appointments to the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; New York State Regents Advisory Council on Libraries; and the Taskforce for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Study of the Public Benefits of LSTA Library Grants to States.

“The library is an invaluable community resource and will continue to be a place for the people of Brooklyn to achieve their dreams. I know that Brooklyn Public Library will continue to do an outstanding job at serving the people of Brooklyn” says Dionne Mack-Harvin.

The Board is pleased that Ms. Mack-Harvin will assist in the transition as it begins its search for a successor to build on her good work” said Crowell.
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Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is an independent library system for the 2.5 million residents of Brooklyn. It is the fifth largest library system in the United States with 60 neighborhood libraries. BPL offers free programs and services for all ages and stages of life, including a huge selection of books in more than 30 languages, author talks, job search help, literacy programs, public computers and the largest WiFi network in the borough. BPL’s eResources, such as eBooks and eVideos, as well as catalog information, are available to customers 24 hours a day at our website: www.bklynlibrary.org.

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Marketing & Communications
Brooklyn Public Library
718.230.2767
mediainfo@bklynlibrary.org

Brooklyn Public Library is an independent New York City library system serving the borough of Brooklyn. It is the fifth largest in the United States. Its Central Library, Business Library, and 58 neighborhood libraries offer free information, programs and computer access to people of all ages. You can reach the Library's resources of over 70 reference databases, catalog information and news 24 hours a day at www.bklynlibrary.org