This past Monday, in celebration of Women's History Month, the Macon branch of the (BPL) held a ceremony to re-dedicate its African-American Heritage Center "The Dionne Mack-Harvin Center," after the library's immediate past executive director.
The naming of the center followed a unanimous decision by the library's Board of Trustees, marking the first time in the institution’s 113-year history a BPL facility has been named for a library administrator .
“The board has immense gratitude for Dionne’s leadership, and innovation throughout her nearly 15-year career at BPL," said Anthony Crowell, chair and board of trustee member at the Brooklyn Public Library.
"In recognition of her many accomplishments, including overseeing the completion of the African American Heritage Center, we wholeheartedly agreed renaming the center was a more than deserving honor.”
Mack-Harvin, who began her BPL career in 1996 as a librarian in the Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant communities, was appointed 11th Executive Director on March 21, 2007.
She is the first African American to lead BPL and the first African-American woman to head a major public library in New York State.
During her tenure, Mack-Harvin ushered in numerous initiatives to bring the Brooklyn Public Library into the 21st Century, including the completion of the $17 million Dweck Center for Contemporary Culture at the central library and the renovation of the landmark building’s majestic outdoor plaza.
Mack-Harvin also headed up a partnership with UPS to modernize the daily transport of thousands of library materials between BPL’s 60 locations, as well as commissioned an extensive customer research study.
In 2009, she managed the reopening of BPL’s highest circulating neighborhood library, Kings Highway.
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.
“I am truly humbled by the decision to rename the heritage center in my honor,” said Dionne Mack-Harvin.
"The center represents a longtime community dream and is a testament to how we can enrich communities and increase relevance at public libraries through local support and a collective vision. Establishing and strengthening community connections was a huge focus of my administration, and I’m proud will now become a part of my legacy in Brooklyn.”
For more information about the Dionne Marck-Harvin Center or the Macon Library, visit the library's website.