Breakfast on the balcony overlooking the ocean, long walks on the beach, time to watch the gulls flock along the coast and dive into the ocean, and a chance to relax and enjoy the lack of cell phones, emails, and the stresses of everyday life. The sun was brilliant and the temperature (mid-60s) encouraged outdoor activities.
Myrtle Beach was filled with revelers who welcomed the new year with shouts and fireworks displays up and down the coast. For some hardy individuals, even small children, the new year meant a swim in the Atlantic as a brisk and challenging start of 2008. I’m not that hardy (or maybe it’s foolhardy!) but I admired those brave souls who did it.
The early morning beach was full of people walking along, watching the birds, collecting shells, and just enjoying the day. By lunchtime, the crowds had dissipated as people left for home and a return to the real world. We were left to enjoy a nearly deserted beach and a hotel with plenty of empty parking spaces.
I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions but with the dawn of the new year I’ve been thinking about how we can affect our customers’ perception of our library media centers and the services we provide. On a recent trip to the book store, I found Delivering Knock Your Socks Off Service (4th edition, Performance Research Associates). Although aimed at corporate and business customer service providers, this book has many suggestions and recommendations that can be used by school librarians. This statement from the introduction (with a few of my own editorial additions) gets to the heart of the matter: “What you do is important. What you do is work—hard work. Answering questions. Solving problems. Untangling…log jams. Fixing what’s broken and finding what’s lost. Soothing the irate and reassuring the timid. Matching people with whom you do business [students, teachers, administrators, parents] with just the right products [books, web sites, and other instructional materials] and services [book recommendations, collaborative planning, research assistance, material check-out], and helping them enjoy and get the most out of those purchases [books, web site, and other instructional materials].” The book is entertaining and a quick read but be careful. If you read too fast, you’re likely to miss some of the suggestions or recommendations.