Building the Future: Key Strategies and Opportunities for Libraries in the Post-Pandemic Era

From breaking the barriers to building the future, librarians have come a long way in transforming and redesigning libraries from the unprecedented changes and challenges brought by the pandemic. Librarians have adjusted to the pandemic and what this means for the future of libraries is that librarians around the world have extended and remodeled the ways they serve their clients. In finding new and creative ways to meet the changing needs of their communities, librarians, who have always been at the forefront in adapting to changes, have embraced innovation progressively.

Who else wouldn’t love innovation? Libraries, originally considered to be the heart of every institution, are at present recognized as the heart of knowledge. In line with the libraries and librarians who have been conjointly serving as a vital gateway for researchers, academics, and students to have access to vast knowledge and resources, and services, the Philippine Association of Academic / Research Librarians, Inc. (PAARL) has concluded the PAARL National Summer Conference 2023 at the La Carmela De Boracay on the 26 to 28 April 2023. With the theme, “Building the Future: Key Strategies and Opportunities for Libraries in the Post-Pandemic Era”, this conference brought together librarians, LIS practitioners, and other interested individuals to share new library techniques, practices, and innovations that academic libraries have been experimenting with since the pandemic began. The conference also became an avenue for library experts and practitioners to exchange knowledge about new and developing services, resources, collaboration, and connections; this involves examining how academic librarians might aid their institutions in the transition from a physical to a hybrid approach in terms of library management.

Librarians from the University of the Philippines Diliman set out to present their research at the PAARL National Summer Conference 2023. From Left to Right, Mr. Nikko D. Lastimosa, Ms. Rizalyn V. Janio, Ms. Jessie Rose M. Bagunu and Mr. Martian A. Jinio.

The conference created a forum for researcher-librarians to impart information and insights, explore new trends and practices in library research, and present their findings. This event gave librarians the chance to underline their libraries’ cutting-edge services, innovative ideas, devices, tools and technologies, their methods and strategies in supporting the information needs of their communities.

There were several research from the University of the Philippines that were presented in the conference: 1) The study entitled “Always at Your Service: The UP SLIS Library’s ‘Zoom with Us Live Chat’” was conducted by Prof. Rhea Rowena U. Apolinario, Ms. Jessie Rose M. Bagunu (Presenter), and Ms. Miriam Charmigrace Q. Salcedo from the School of Library and Information Studies, University of The Philippines Diliman. This study explored the perspectives and experiences of library patrons who participated in the live chat session, as well as the views of the librarians who handled the services. It was found that patrons who participated in the sessions expressed satisfaction with the service and were hoping to have more live chat sessions. The interactions between the librarians and their patrons, on the other hand, were light but profound, leading to a stronger sense of connection between them. 2) The study about the Content Analysis of UP Diliman Libraries’ Marketing Plan Development of Programs and Services per Academic Cluster through Five-Year Annual Reports” was presented through video recording. This study was conducted by Ms. Eunice Ann Y. Chua (Presenter), Mr. John Christopherson L.T. Fredeluces, Mr. Angelo Emmanuel P. Ho (Co-Presenter), Ms. Kristine Joy C. Jaromamay, Mr. Aaron Paul L. Madriñan, and Ms. Marian Rose P. Uichanco from the University Library Diliman, Strategic Communication, Research, and Marketing Section. This study observed that while libraries have clear goals and strategies, they sometimes lack measurement and assessment. In the analysis, despite the unconscious effort at marketing, it is evident that they practice it, albeit at different scales and varied levels of regularity, hence recommended that the need for continuous improvement of in-person and remote delivery of services must be sustained; and innovation should be supported by staff training through information and digital literacy instruction and the formation of institutional repositories, among others. 3) The study entitled “Integrating Learning and Skills: Assessing the Information Literacy and Digital Literacy Competencies of UPD Librarians” was conducted and presented by Mr.  Martian A. Jinio (Presenter), Mr. Nikko Angelo D. Lastimosa (Co-Presenter), Ms. Eunice Ann Y. Chua, and Ms. Rizalyn V. Janio from the University Library Diliman, Information Services and Instruction Section. This study found that the level of information literacy competency of the UPD librarians are mostly very high; the level of digital literacy competency of UPD librarians are mostly high. It was recommended that as part of the professional development, the Library Administration should be encouraged to reinforce and invest in the Digital and Information Literacy curriculum and/or training focusing on the factors where literacy is low using tools or frameworks that will suit their needs; this also calls on the recommendation on furthering the study of IL and DL competencies of students.

Clockwise from top-left: Mr. Nikko D. Lastimosa, Mr. Martian A. Jinio, Ms. Jessie Rose M. Bagunu and Ms. Eunice Ann Yutuc Chua as they presented their research among academic and research librarians from all over the country.

Panel discussions were also set to discuss specific topics related to their presented research; open forums took place after each session where participants can actively ask questions, exchange ideas, share experiences, insights, opinions, and learn from each other.

Photos taken during the Q&A Portion and Awarding of Certificates as Resource Speakers.

At the conclusion of the 2023 PAARL National Summer Conference, it is evident that libraries and librarians who are advocates for innovative research, adaptive to the changes of the society and responsive to the needs of its communities, can usher in a future that is more inclusive, impartial, progressive, and sensitive to the needs of the public.

Saliksik, Suri, at Sulat: Cultivating Research Culture and Excellence in the University Library

Given the enthusiasm in research, librarians who are traditionally the stewards of information have transformed into a new significant role – a researcher. While recognizing the role of researchers, the time has come for UP Librarians and students to cultivate and strengthen a culture of research, and encourage a better environment in the University.

The Library Research Committee of the University Library Diliman held a seminar/training for librarians and students entitled “Saliksik, Suri, at Sulat: Cultivating Research Culture and Excellence in the University Library” in partnership with Elsevier. The event  was held on 18 April 2023, 1:00 – 5:00 PM at the DGE Theater, 4th floor, Melchor Hall, University of the Philippines Diliman. The objective of the event are as follows: 1) to have motivation and develop confidence in writing research; 2) To acquire the knowledge and skill set to use library and work-related data to craft programs, write research projects and/or submit to pertinent conferences and journals for publication; 3) To develop research topics applicable to work environment which may lead to viable library projects/programs or provide solutions to work problems/issues; 4) To increase knowledge in the various methodologies applicable to the library and its processes, and; 5) To understand the publishing process.

From Left to Right, Ms. Elvira B. Lapuz, University Librarian; Ms. Yedda Marynel U. Arce as host for Saliksik, Suri at Sulat; and Ms. Eimee Rhea C. Lagrama, Deputy University Librarian, as she delivered the opening remarks.

The Library Research Committee invited experts in their respective field to discuss topics such as Overcoming Writer’s Block and the Writing Process in research. The OIC-Dean of the School of Library and Information Studies, UP Diliman, Prof. Rhea Rowena U. Apolinario with her topic “Moving Beyond Writer’s Block: Strategies on Overcoming It” discussed strategies to overcome writing challenges, build confidence and motivation in writing, setting achievable writing goals, and techniques for getting started on writing projects. Furthermore, the Customer Consultant for Indonesia and Philippines, Elsevier Southeast Asia, Mr. Johan Jang, discussed the stages of the research writing process, including prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing with his topic “Taking your Research Paper to the Next Level: Navigating research writing and publishing process”.

Librarians from the Diliman campus as they eagerly pay attention during the discussion.

(Left) Prof. Rhea Rowena U. Apolinario from the UP SLIS as she shared useful tips how to deal with a writer’s block. (Right) Mr. Johan Jang thoroughly discussed the step-by-step process how to publish a research paper.

(Left) Ms. Elaine Barbara M. Cruz and (Right) Mr. Martian A. Jinio as they raised their questions during the open forum.

An open forum was held after each session. One of the attendees of the training, Mr. A.B. De Castro, a graduate student currently writing his thesis, asked Ms. Apolinario about her longest writer’s block. She replied that it only took her about a month to get over the impediment. She also provided various tips on how to overcome or recover from this particular challenge by pacing oneself during the writing process. While Mr. Jang has aptly discussed research writing and publishing, best practices in writing were also given emphasis. Some of the important points to remember were 1) Some journals may have slightly different article structure; 2) Take supplementary data seriously as some editors and reviewers take data seriously; 3) There are certain qualities of effective titles such as titles should attract reader’s attention, should be specific and direct, and should not include technical jargons and abbreviations. The training appeared to be very insightful and beneficial for anyone who is seeking progress in their academic journeys.

Photos taken during the training series.

Ms. Rizalyn Janio, Chair of the Library Research Committee, concluded the session with remarks that we should understand that beyond the merits of conducting our own research, we are contributing to the body of knowledge, and strengthening the representation of our library as a hub of academic excellence.