Despite a lot of PLA conference sessions discussing embedded librarianship as if it’s a new thing, it’s far from it. While it’s mostly seen with academic librarians embedding themselves into assigned departments, public librarians are seeing the need to embed themselves within their communities. And rightly so.
Vibrant libraries have already seen success in relationship building by attending town meetings, volunteering for committees and setting up tables at local farmers markets. Those of us who run this track see the importance of successfully “existing” in the town.
Recently, it occurred to me that a good way for us to track and foster these external relationships is by using CRM. For those not hip with corporate acronyms, CRM stands for customer relationship management. Major for-profit companies have been using CRM databases and practices for years to identify potential leads and maintain existing connections.
In my research, I saw a few blog posts encouraging libraries to try it. However, I wasn’t able to discover any case studies or reports of library implementation. So it looks like we’re staring from a blank slate.
I checked out a few free cloud CRM databases and settled on Bitrix24 (mainly because it’s the only free cloud I could find with up to 12 users). We can incorporate our google calendars should we choose and it seems fairly user friendly. I plan to give a tutorial to other supervisors next week and figure out what labels and components will be most useful to us. I’ll document as we go, which will hopefully be helpful to others.