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THIS WEEK


Library Focus Interview: Zoey Dixon


Lambeth Libraries’ Rising Star Dixon on partnerships and community in lockdown


Zoey Dixon, named a Bookseller Rising Star in 2020, has been a leading light in making libraries more accessible, both before and during Covid, in her development role at Lambeth Libraries


Z


Heloise Wood @saltounite


08 3rd September 2021


oey Dixon has more than two decades’ worth of librarianship under her belt and was dubbed “one of, if not the, most influential children’s librarians


in the country” when she was named a Bookseller Rising Star last year. So it’s no surprise that she used lockdown to boost Lambeth Libraries’ digital offering and developed partnership events which drew in thousands of atendees. A library manager and development librarian in charge of social media, digital information and online, Dixon had a busy time in lockdown. “The development role expanded because of how we had to move online to deliver our content,” she tells The Bookseller. “I look aſter e-books and I had to expand the collection to include the jump in use.” Lambeth Libraries added 1,382 e-book and digital audio titles between April and July in 2020, and 1,500 comics and graphic novels. In the same period in 2019, it added only 229 digital titles.


“We expanded the e-book and audio collection, we


rejigged the books budgets so more money went to the digital side,” Dixon says. “We added a lot of educational online resources to help schoolchildren, so we worked with Lambeth Council, which was donating laptops to children in need so they could continue their education from home. We produced information booklets for children who weren’t computer-confident.”


A wider reach Dixon considered how to reach even more users with new capabilities over lockdown. “We introduced a few services in lockdown to expand the offer because we weren’t open to the public. We offered our usual services online—read- ing groups, story sessions—but added new services such as ‘Ask a Librarian’ and there was an hour where children could ask librarians for help with homework. We started code clubs online, which reached a wider audience—we had to add extra classes because they were so popular and over-subscribed. For the coding club going forward, we will have sessions online and in the library.” One of the biggest shiſts was a partnership with Sheffield Libraries on the LGBT festival earlier this year, the first time Lambeth has joined with another library


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