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PR- 084-07
March 22, 2007


Mack-Harvin Will Be First African-American Woman in New York State to Lead Major Public Library System

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz today announced the appointment of Dionne Mack-Harvin as Executive Director of Brooklyn Public Library, the fifth largest public library system in the country. Brooklyn Public Library's (BPL) Board of Trustees unanimously approved the appointment last night. Mack-Harvin, who began her career at BPL as a librarian at the Crown Heights Library, currently serves as Interim Executive Director. Mayor Bloomberg charged Mack-Harvin and the leaders of the City's two other library systems to develop a long-term strategy to improve their libraries over the coming years, complementing the City's comprehensive plaNYC study. Council Members Vincent Gentile and Domenic Recchia, BPL Board President Thomas Amon, BPL Board Vice President and Counselor to the Mayor Anthony Crowell, and other members of the Board joined the Mayor at the announcement in Downtown Brooklyn.

"A lifelong librarian and true success story, Dionne Mack-Harvin started in the Crown Heights branch more than a decade ago, and now has worked her way up through Brooklyn Public Library's system to become its first African-American Executive Director," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The City's three library systems are already world renowned for their quality, but as our City grows, our library systems will need to grow as well. Dionne is a dynamic and dedicated leader who will bring new energy and ideas to the system, and I am confident that she will meet the challenge and continue to make improvements in collections, services and facilities - especially in technology - to keep Brooklyn Public Library a nationwide leader for generations to come."

"As a longstanding, effective member of Brooklyn Public Library's staff, and now as its historic first woman of color Executive Director, Dionne earned her position the old-fashioned way: she earned it," said Borough President Markowitz. "Brooklynites are confident that Dionne possesses the leadership and drive to help write the next chapters in our libraries' proud history, by promoting literacy and maintaining the library's status as one of the top systems in America, beginning with the exciting renovation of our beautiful Central Branch. And as home to such an illustrious literary tradition and so many renowned contemporary authors, Brooklyn certainly knows the language of success!"

Mack-Harvin was selected after an exhaustive nationwide search. Since beginning her career at BPL in 1996 as a librarian at the Crown Heights Library, Mack-Harvin has held several key positions within the system, including Branch Manager and Regional Librarian responsible for overseeing 24 neighborhood libraries. In 2003, Dionne was promoted to Director of Central Library, where she was chief administrator of the 350,000-square-foot facility, oversaw a $5 million dollar budget, and managed more than 100 staff members. Two years later, Dionne was promoted to Chief of Staff, and during her tenure managed six Directors and oversaw projects such as the annual capital budget request.

In recognition of her exceptional job as Chief of Staff, Dionne was named Interim Executive Director in June 2006. During this time, she managed the successful opening of Highlawn Library, oversaw the most successful summer reading program ever held at BPL (with a 44% increase in participation over the prior year), and worked closely with the Mayor, City Council, Borough President, State and Federal governments, as well as the BPL Board of Trustees.

"We are delighted to appoint as Executive Director someone whose talents and early promise were nurtured and recognized by BPL. After serving as Interim Executive Director for almost a year, Dionne has proven herself as the forward-thinking leader that this borough needs at the helm of its library system," said Board President Amon. "With her over 10 years of experience at Brooklyn Public Library, the Board is confident that she will find innovative ways to meet the needs of Brooklynites everywhere, and enthusiastically meet the challenges of running a 60-location library system."

"The search committee considered exceptional candidates from around the country, but it will come as little surprise to fellow Brooklynites that our best candidate was right in our backyard," said Board Vice President and Counselor to the Mayor Crowell. "The Board looks forward to continue working with Dionne as we improve upon our already-strong system and build libraries of the future."

Dionne received her Master of Arts in Africana Studies from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany in 1995 and her Masters of Library Science in Information Science from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at SUNY Albany in 1996. She graduated magna cum laude from SUNY at Brockport in 1994 with a Bachelors of Science in History and African and Afro-American Studies.

Brooklyn Public Library is the independent library system serving the 2.6 million residents of Brooklyn. It is the fifth largest system in the United States by constituency, with 60 locations throughout the borough. BPL offers free programs and services for all ages of life, including author talks, literacy programs, public computers, and, of course, a huge selection of books, DVDs and CDs in more than 30 languages. To learn more about BPL and to check out BPL's eBooks and eVideo collection, catalog information, free homework help 24 hours a day at


Stu Loeser/Matthew Kelly   (212) 788-2958

Eric Demby (BP Markowitz)   (718) 802-3832

Stefanie Arck (BPL)   (718) 230-2458

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