On September 2019 we went to Qatar to facilitate a one of a kind Book Sprint: a handbook on setting up and managing Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums – the GLAM sector. The book “Open a GLAM Lab” was soon after translated to Arabic and to Spanish, published at the repository of the University of Alicante, and is on its way to become available in Bulgarian, Russian and French. The original version in English had over 2.000 visits and the Arabic version almost 1.000 views, both at the Qatar University Library website.
More than a year has passed and we reached out to Mahendra Mahey, BL Manager at the British Library and one of the organisers of the Book Sprint, to get some updates on the developments of the book. Mahendra promptly shared that the main goal of producing the book is being reached: the book has indeed become a relevant resource for people looking to set up and improve GLAM Labs all over the world.
The Book Sprint was organised through a partnership between UCL Qatar, British Library, Qatar University and Library of Congress. The idea of making this book followed the start of the International GLAM Labs Community, which was formed the previous year at the event on global ‘Library Labs’ held by the British Library. The event was attended by over 70 people from 43 institutions and 20 countries.
After the Book Sprint, the 16 authors got on the road to share about the book in talks and conferences, and managed to do so for about 6 months before restrictions due to COVID-19 came in place. Author Gustavo Candela, at Fundación Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, took part in 4 international events in the following months and published a research paper on the topic in the Journal of Informational Science. He also shared some updates and his impressions from participating in a Book Sprint:
We worked as a team and we created something amazing from scratch. This experience has helped me grow as a professional, researcher and person. (…) As a researcher, the book has helped me to increase my online visibility regarding Labs and the reuse of digital collections from GLAM institutions. Some of my lessons at the University are based on the contents of the book.
Mahendra Mahey also shared his thoughts about being an organiser and participant at the Book Sprint:
I think it’s one of the best things I’ve done professionally in terms of experience, the best professional development in the sense of workshops and events. The Book Sprint experience and the way it was organised was a psychological journey and I think that is the essence of this experience, to get the most out of it. You have to face who you are as a person. It can get very stressful, there is the time pressure. Some people flourish, some people don’t. I learned a lot about myself.
We really appreciate catching up with our authors after some time and receiving their honest feedbacks, which make us at Book Sprints reflect on how we do what we do, and how we overall learn a great deal.
You can have more details about the GLAM Labs Book Sprint process in our book post here.