Setting up LibCRM for the first time

We know - getting a new system is both really exciting and fairly daunting all at the same time. You have this shiny new system...with nothing in it. What do you do with this totally empty system?? Let's walk through the things you ought to learn & discuss before you start setting up your system and then help you set everything up!

Who is this Springboard for?

While it's initially sent to the first Admin level user created in the system, that doesn't mean only that person should take a look! (Unless you're a solo librarian...then it just makes sense, of course! ;) ) This guide is for anyone who is helping to initially set up the system. Others may or may not be Admin level users in the system, but they can still understand the options and help discuss / form the plan for how you'll use the system, so feel free to share the information!

Featured training sessions

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Join our Springy Training Team for the Setting up & Using LibCRM workshop, offered regularly. This session is geared towards LibCRM admins and covers setup, importings profiles, and using your LibCRM system. We'll discuss Projects & Tasks as well as Reporting.

Visit the Springy training calendar to register for the next available session! While you're there, also check out our sessions focused on setting up Spaces, Equipment, Appointments, and more!

Or, if you're unable to make it to a live training session, check out the recordings of our training sessions anytime in our training video collection.

Step 1. Configure your system settings and Springshare integrations

Before you start adding user accounts for your colleagues, it can be helpful to get your system settings and Springshare integrations configured first. This will ensure that the settings are the way you want before users start adding profiles and recording interactions in the system. In LibCRM, the system settings are comprised of your Date & Time Settings, that affect the timestamps throughout the system. Additionally, you will want to make sure that the integrations for LibAnswers and LibCal are enabled -- LibCRM allows you to keep track of your interactions with users, even when they happen in your other Springy apps automatically adding interactions from LibCal and LibAnswers to your profiles.

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Step 2. Add user accounts

This is where you can start giving your colleagues access to LibCRM. When you add an account, be sure to select the appropriate level of permissions for that user, based upon how you need them to use the system. For example, if you will have other folks helping you manage the system, you'll want to make sure they have admin-level access.

Once you've given everyone access, encourage them to explore the system hands-on and start adding profiles, interactions, profiles, and tasks. Don't forget to share our documentation and training resources, too, in case they need any help!

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Step 3. Set up profile types, form fields, and categories & terms

Before you begin adding profiles and interactions in LibCRM, you'll need to set up your profile types, form fields, and categories & terms. Types are how you organize the various person and organization profiles in your system. Each profile you add to LibCRM must be assigned a type, so setting up your types is one of the first steps you should take when setting up your system.

For each profile type, you can add one or more fields for gathering info unique to that type of person or organization. This is in addition to generalized fields shared by all person and organization types. For example, "College ID" or "Library Card Number" would be an example of a field you may want to display in all person profiles, while "Graduation Year" may be an example of a field unique to your Student profile type.

And throughout LibCRM, you'll find fields that allow you to categorize things like profiles, interactions, relationships, and memberships. These categories contain terms that you can choose from -- for example, with Name Prefixes, you could select Mr., Mrs., or Ms. LibCRM allows you to customize these categories by adding your own terms. Using Name Prefixes as an example again, this means you could add Dr., Prof., Pres., Provost, Fr., Gen., etc., depending upon your local needs.

This is an essential step in the setup of your system, as the types, fields, categories, and terms that you create directly impact the type of data that you will be capturing for your profiles and how the content within your system is organized. It may be useful to spend some time before you set up any of these form fields to sketch out what fields you want/need to have in your system.

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Step 4. Create your People and Organization profiles

Person profiles allow you to keep track of important information about your library's stakeholders. And Organization profiles allow you to keep track of important information about organizations your library interacts with, such as vendors, committees, teams, consortia, or professional organizations. Out of the box, this includes basic contact info, such as a person/organization names, email addresses, and other contact info. However, if you have completed step three from above, your profiles will also include your customized types and fields so you are collecting and tracking the data that is most relevant for your library. As you are setting up your profiles, you will also want to set up the relationships (between people) and memberships (indicating what organizations people belong to) so that you are establishing and tracking connections between your people and organizations.

Your profiles are also used to coordinate and track interactions with your organizations and stakeholders, whether it's a simple email with a vendor rep, attendance at a professional organization meeting, coordinating a library instruction session with a faculty member, or helping an author with their research. Each interaction you add not only helps you track your outreach and engagement, but it can also help you develop more personalized services in the future.

Before you begin adding profiles to LibCRM, consider asking staff to create lists of the internal or external organizations they interact with regularly. This can help inform which people to add profiles for, and which staff member(s) they should be assigned to. When a user is assigned to a profile, it indicates that the person is responsible for managing that profile. For example, if this is a profile for an e-resources vendor, then you may want to assign your Electronic Resources Librarian as the owner and your Systems Librarian as a co-owner.

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Step 5. Set up projects and tasks

Tasks allow you to keep track of your progress towards certain goals or outcomes. Whether its part of a larger project or simply a reminder to follow up with a person by a certain date, tasks let you know what you've done and what you need to do next. Each task can be assigned to one or more users and has its own status, so you can track its completion.

A project allows you to create, organize, and collaborate on related tasks. For example, if you wanted to organize liaison outreach with each academic department, you could create a project with a series of tasks assigned to different librarians. Each task could be associated with the respective faculty member's profile, allowing each librarian to easily log related interactions and notes along the way. As each librarian finishes their outreach with a particular department, they could mark the task as complete.

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Step 6. Record and manage interactions

Each profile allows you to log your interactions with that person or organization. Whether it's an email, phone call, or in-person meeting, you can keep track of your entire history with each stakeholder. This not only makes it easy to review your past activity and collaborations with stakeholders, but it can also help you better plan and offer new services. You are able to manually add interactions for any of your profiles along with having interactions from your connected Springshare products (LibCal and LibAnswers) added to your profiles automatically. Additionally, you can use the System Email address to pull emails that you have with any profiles (people or organizations) into the Interactions for the profile(s). If you include the System Email in the BCC, CC, or To field (it can go in any, but it's probably a good idea to keep it as a BCC so that it isn't visible) for emails being sent to a profile, LibCRM will record that email interaction automatically.

Note: Before you can log an interaction with a person or organization, they must first have a profile in LibCRM.

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Step 7. Run reports

While analyzing your profiles and running reports isn't part of your initial set up of LibCRM, it is a big reason why you have gone through the first six steps above. The Reports page allows you to generate lists of profiles, interactions, projects, tasks, relationships, memberships that meet specific criteria, including:

  • General profile information (e.g. name, email address, profile type, etc.)
  • Interaction details (e.g. interaction source, staff, location, etc.)
  • Task details (e.g. status, associated profiles, etc.)
  • Project details (e.g. project membership and dates)
  • Relationship details (e.g. profile names and relationship types)
  • Membership details (e.g. profile names and membership types)

Not only can you export your reports, but you can also save your filters so you can easily run the reports again in the future.

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Setup Checklist

Before you go, consider reviewing the following checklist to make sure you have everything set up and ready for action. If you missed something, no worries! Check out the sections above for help tying up any loose ends.

Settings and accounts

  • Have you configured your date and time settings?
  • Do you have your Springshare integrations enabled?
  • Does everyone who needs a user account have one?

Profile types, form fields, and categories & terms

  • Have you set up the necessary profile types?
  • Do you have the correct fields in place for your people and organizations?
  • Do you have all of the categories and terms that you will need in place?

People and organization profiles

  • Have you added all of the people and organization profiles that you will need initially?
  • Have you set up relationships between your people profiles?
  • Have you added the proper memberships for your people profiles?
  • Do the correct account holders have ownership of the profiles that they deal with most regularly?

Projects and tasks

  • Have you set up your initial lists of projects? 
  • Have you started adding tasks to those projects?


  • Do your staff members understand how to record interactions?
  • Are the correct email addresses in place for your profiles so that the LibAnswers and LibCal integrations are recording interactions on the right profiles?
  • Do you and your staff know what your system email address is?

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