Media Reports Claim Old Flap as Reason for Resignation
These media reports claim the reason for the director's resignation is related to a matter from August 2009:
- "Brooklyn Public Library Big Resigns Over Botched Layoffs Using Real-Life 'Up in the Air' Hatchet Co.," by Elizabeth Hays, Daily News, 9 March 2010.
- "Dionne Mack-Harvin, Resigning Brooklyn Library Boss, Burned by Chatty Downsizers: News," by Roy Edroso, The Village Voice, 9 March 2010.
- "Brooklyn PL Director Mack-Harvin Resigns After Three Years; Interim Director to be Named; Board Meeting Tonight," by Norman Oder, Library Journal, 4 March 2010.
As I read those stories, I see no direct evidence that the August 2009 kerfuffle is the reason for the resignation. Indeed, "Mack-Harvin insists that her resignation was a personal decision that had nothing to do with the downsizing scandal...."
Might there be something more recent that caused the director to jump?
Recent Criticism of the BPL and a Call for Production of Exculpatory Documents
Recently, I have disclosed what may be fraud perpetrated by the Brooklyn Public Library. I called on the director to speak with me publicly and to produce copies of certifications filed with the federal government that would prove or disprove possible fraud. Please see:
- "Porn in Brooklyn Public Library; Frustrated Patron Provides Photographic Proof; Library Refuses to Act; Two and a Half Million Dollars in Jeopardy Due to Possible Fraud," by Dan Kleinman, SafeLibraries, 18 December 2009.
- "Janet Napolitano vs Dionne Mack-Harvin; Open Request for Interview with Brooklyn Public Library Director Regarding CIPA Internet Filters and $2.5M in Undue Federal Funding," by Dan Kleinman, SafeLibraries, 4 January 2010.
- "Obama Nominee Carla Hayden is Unfit for Administration Post; Dionne Mack-Harvin May Go to Jail for Following Hayden's E-Rate Advice," by Dan Kleinman, SafeLibraries, 12 February 2010.
Letter from the Brooklyn Borough President
In response to these blog posts and emails based thereon, I have received from the Brooklyn Borough President the following response:
On Wed, Feb 17, 2010 at 5:55 PM, [name, email elided]@brooklynbp.nyc.gov wrote:
To Mr. Kleinman:
The Borough President’s Office has received your issue concerning viewing pornography in Brooklyn Public Library. In response to your concerns we have contacted the BPL and they have stated that they filter their computers, providing adults the choice to conduct their computer session filtered or unfiltered and children’s computers are automatically filtered. Further, privacy screens are available for all customers and though the libraries are public spaces library staff is trained to manage customer services issues as they occur. The BPL states that they ensure that children’s areas are separate from adult areas, and if a customer is viewing controversial material, that the customer use a privacy screen or move to a more secluded location. Also, the BPL states that an independent audit, conducted two years ago by the international accounting firm KPMG on behalf of the Universal Services Access Corporation (USAC), the organization responsible for dispersing and overseeing E-Rate funds, found that BPL was in compliance with federal E-Rate requirements.
If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me at the number provided below.
Brooklyn Borough President
209 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Phone Number: [elided]
Fax Number: [elided]
The Brooklyn Borough President has reacted to the resignation by lauding the director most graciously. See: "Brooklyn Public Library Chief Resigns," by Rich Calder, New York Post, 4 March 2010.
Conspiracy to Commit Fraud
What the above message from the Brooklyn Borough President tells me is that the library misled the President and KPMG, and there may be a conspiracy to commit fraud. How else does one explain how the library survived the 2007 KMPG audit? Had the library disclosed that it allows patrons to unfilter the computers for themselves? There certainly would have been consequences vis-a-vis the E-rate funding received in the past and in the future. Remember, as I disclosed on my other blog posts, what the library says in writing complies with the law, but differs from what the library allows in practice.
Evidence of Fraud Begins in 2004
Potential evidence of the perpetration of the fraud first appeared in 2004. That was the first time it was publicly noted that the library may be skirting the relevant law:
- "Norman Oder on Bizarre Library CIPA Implementations," by David Burt, Filtering Facts, 13 May 2008.
- "Project Uncensored; The New Library Internet Filters Solve Nothing. So Why Have Them," by Norman Oder [per above citation], New York Press, 9 November 2004.
By the way, the very means the library uses to defraud the government is the American Library Association's [ALA] recommended means, as discussed in one of my previous posts. I predict that the ALA will not change its guidance/policy even if violations are eventually proven.
Mack-Harvin May Have Resigned to Quit Fraudulent Practice
Everything on my blog is my opinion unless backed up with reliable sources. It is possible that the director resigned to stop playing a role in defrauding the federal government, something that may have been ongoing since at least 2004 and that continues to this day.
It is possible she joined the library when the fraudulent activity was already well underway, and now that I have brought the matter to the public's attention, or now that she has considered what I have said and found it may be valid, she has had the integrity to resign from such an operation.
I could be totally wrong. I think the August 2009 firings are too remote to cause a resignation now, seven months later and after the matter had quieted down. And she said they didn't. On the other hand, I think the Brooklyn Borough President's letter occurring just two weeks before the resignation and all the background that goes with it is coincidentally close, no?
Good Luck to Dionne Mack-Harvin
I wish the director well, no matter what the truth may ultimately be. But if she resigned to avoid perpetrating a fraud, she will truly be a role model librarian/citizen. As one commenter ("Concerned Librarian in Brooklyn") on the Library Journal article said:
In the big picture, she did well and is leaving us a better, stronger organization. Our circulation is the highest it has ever been, many frontline staff are happier than with past administrations, we are more honest and more transparent. At least for three years it was nice to have one of our own in charge and to see a young, accomplished, African American woman in charge of the fifth largest public library system in the world. Now we are left to the mercy of the Board of Trustees: a bunch of clueless, overly political, nasty, corrupt, individuals as only Brooklyn could create.
What do you think? Please comment below.