Revolutionizing the Library Experience: A Closer Look at the Best Innovative Strategies and Technologies for Engaging Users and Enhancing Services

Revolutionizing the Library Experience: A Closer Look at the Best Innovative Strategies and Technologies for Engaging Users and Enhancing Services

Elisa Vinco-Garcia, RL, MSLS, Ph.D.
Chief Librarian, JBLCF-Bacolod

In an era marked by the rapid advancement of technology and the increasing availability of digital content, libraries face new challenges in meeting their patrons' changing needs and expectations. To remain relevant, libraries must adapt and employ innovative strategies and technologies to revolutionize the library experience. This article explores how libraries can leverage emerging technologies to enhance the user experience and provide more efficient services. It also draws on the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) by Davis (1989) and the Diffusion of Innovations theory (Rogers, 2003) to understand the adoption and impact of these technologies.

In the digital age, libraries face several challenges that impact their operations and services:

 The shift towards digital resources has reduced foot traffic, posing a challenge to libraries' traditional role as physical spaces for learning and research.

 The digital divide persists, with certain demographics needing access to technology or internet connectivity, limiting their ability to engage with digital library resources fully.

 There is an increased demand for digital resources such as e-books, online databases, and multimedia content, requiring robust digital infrastructure to meet patrons' expectations. Budget cuts often constrain libraries, making it difficult to invest in new technologies or upgrade existing systems to provide the desired level of service. Staffing issues also arise, as libraries may need more expertise to manage and leverage emerging technologies effectively, hindering the adoption of innovative solutions.

 Changing user needs and expectations, including convenience, personalized experiences, and seamless access to information, necessitate adaptation by libraries.

 The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized addressing health and safety concerns, prompting libraries to provide contactless services and implement sanitization protocols.

Best Innovative Practices of the JBLCF-Bacolod Library

To address these challenges and revolutionize the library experience, libraries embrace various innovative strategies and technologies. The John B. Lacson Colleges Foundation-Bacolod (JBLCF-Bacolod) library has implemented several innovative practices to enhance the library experience and cater to the changing needs of its users. Here are some of the best practices that have been implemented:

1. Designing the Library Website. The library has developed a dedicated website ( that serves as a central hub for accessing library resources and services. The website provides a user-friendly interface, making it easy for patrons to navigate and discover the available resources

2. Online Library Orientation. Recognizing the need for virtual engagement, the library conducts online orientations to introduce users to the library's services, collections, and facilities. This helps users understand how to maximize the available resources effectively.

3. Embedded Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC). The library has embedded the OPAC within its website, allowing users to search for books, journals, and other materials directly from the website. This integration provides a seamless experience for users, eliminating the need to navigate through separate systems.

4. Ask LISA (Lacsonian Information Services Assistant). Ask LISA, the virtual reference assistant of the library, provides online support and assistance to users. Through chat-based communication, users can ask questions, seek research guidance, and receive prompt responses from the library staff.

5. Social Media Platforms. The library maintains an active presence on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Gmail. Utilizing these channels, the library shares updates on new acquisitions, upcoming programs, events, and other relevant information. This helps to engage and inform library users effectively.

6. Subscription to Online Databases and E-books. The library has invested in online databases and e-book subscriptions, providing access to a wide range of digital resources. This allows users to explore a diverse collection of scholarly materials from anywhere, at any time

7. Creation of Instructional Guides. To assist users in accessing and utilizing the online databases effectively, the library has developed instructional guides. These guides provide step-by-step instructions on how to navigate the databases, conduct searches, and make the most of the available resources.

8. Access to Open Access Journals. The library facilitates access to open-access journals, enabling users to explore scholarly articles and research papers without any paywalls or subscription barriers. This promotes knowledge dissemination and supports academic research

9. Online Book Request. Users can conveniently request books online through the library's website. This feature eliminates the need for physical visits and allows users to reserve books in advance for pick-up or delivery.

10. Online Library Satisfaction Survey. The library conducts online satisfaction surveys to gather feedback from users. This feedback helps the library understand user preferences, identify areas for improvement, and enhance the overall library experience.

11. Assisting and Mentoring Faculty and Students. The library supports faculty researchers and instructors by assisting and mentoring them on referencing and citations. This ensures academic integrity and helps researchers in their scholarly pursuits. Additionally, the library assists students in their bibliographic search using Reference Management Software (RMS).

12. Designing Tutorial Brochures. The library has created tutorial brochures on using Reference Management Software (RMS) in the JeLMS (JBLFMU e-Learning Management System). These brochures are handy guides for students, helping them effectively manage their references and citations.

13. UVC Sterilization Box for Book Disinfection. Recognizing the importance of health and safety, the library has implemented a UVC sterilization box for disinfecting books. This ensures that library materials are safe for use and minimizes the risk of transmission of pathogens.

Benefits Gained from These Best Innovative Practices

The adoption of innovative practices in libraries brings a multitude of benefits. Improved access to resources breaks down barriers of physical proximity and operating hours, allowing individuals to utilize library services remotely and at their convenience. This flexibility extends to learning and research, providing users with a more efficient and convenient experience, as they can access a wide range of materials without the constraints of physical library visits.

The use of social media platforms promotes engagement and collaboration within the academic community, fostering discussions, resource sharing, event promotion, and creating a sense of community. Integrating innovative services can lead to cost savings and improved library operational efficiency.

By facilitating communication between users and library staff, libraries create an environment that encourages active engagement and knowledge exchange. Collaborative platforms and online communities enable the sharing of ideas, expertise, and resources, further strengthening the academic community.

In addition, innovative practices enhance accessibility, empowering users to search for reliable online tools and resources independently. This encourages critical thinking and information literacy skills, enabling users to navigate the digital landscape confidently and find accurate information.

Personalized services cater to users' unique needs, enhancing their engagement and satisfaction. Maximizing the utilization of library subscriptions ensures a higher return on investment, enhances users' research capabilities, and expands their access to scholarly information.

By embracing innovative practices and technologies, libraries can enhance the user experience, provide efficient services, and remain accessible to their patrons. Adopting emerging technologies breaks physical barriers, promotes engagement and collaboration, improves operational efficiency, and enhances information literacy skills. Moving forward, libraries should continue to embrace technology, expand digital literacy programs, collaborate with community partners, redefine physical spaces, enhance health and safety measures, and adapt services to meet evolving user needs. Through these efforts, libraries can remain relevant and continue to provide valuable resources and services to their communities.