This past September, I had the opportunity to attend the 2012 ALSC Institute in Indianapolis. It was an amazing experience and I learned something new from every program I attended. But I also had some great “aha” moments outside of the scheduled workshops, and I am finally getting around to writing them up over the next few months! You can check out the other post so far here.
My boss and I left for home on Saturday afternoon, but what a morning! By the time we arrived at the airport we had already presented our session, packed, checked out of the hotel, attended another author keynote, had lunch, and toured the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. After three amazing days at the conference, our brains were buzzing and we were pooped, and all we wanted was an uneventful flight home.
We decided to have the Skycap out on the sidewalk check us in and take our bags, and I am so glad we did! He was good at his job, so all the details went smoothly, and he was very personable, and chatted with us about how good we must be feeling to be on our way home; and behind him on a ledge was the most amazing collection of figurines:
There was nothing completely out of the ordinary about him or our interaction, except that it completely lifted my spirits. Later, when I got to security, I had to be screened twice because I forgot to take off my locket, but I was still in a good mood because of my interaction with the Skycap, and so the short delay didn’t seem like a big deal and it didn’t frustrate me the way those glitches sometimes do. In other words, the Skycap was so good at his job that he made my whole boarding experience better, even the parts that he had nothing to do with. Just because he made a point to be friendly, and efficient, and make us feel good about traveling.
This exchange made me think about storytime and the library. (Yes, pretty much everything makes me think about storytime and the library!) I realized that when families come to my morning storytimes, I may be the first “public” person they interact with that day. On storytime days, the library is often the first public place they come to. Taking care of very young children is tough, and some days it is a real pain in the neck to get everyone out of the house and to the library on time. Some days the moms and dads and grandmas and nannies are arriving at the library worn out, and just hoping for an uneventful excursion so they can just get back home again.
Thanks to my Skycap, I have renewed my determination to make sure that no matter what MY mood is on Monday mornings, no matter what dozen other things I am juggling in my personal and work lives, that I make sure that my welcome is warm and genuine and that I make a connection to each and every family arriving at storytime. I want them to feel so cared for and lifted up by being at the library that they have an extra boost for the rest of their day, and they always look forward to coming back.
What do you do to truly welcome your families to storytime?