Get ready for IASL 2016!

March 24, 2016

April 3-4, 2016 | Ramada Tropics Resort and Conference Center, Des Moines, IA


We sat down with Teacher Librarian Shannon McClintock Miller to get the inside scoop on the upcoming IASL conference. This year’s conference theme is TL Squared: Teacher Librarians Connect Technology and Literacy and the folks in Iowa have a great program lined up to support Teacher Librarians’ work in 21st century schools.

What are you most looking forward to about the conference?

SMM: Teacher Librarians in Iowa are doing so many cools things! I’m really looking forward to catching up with all my friends in Iowa and meeting lots of new people. I always come home from this conference with a bunch of ideas to try so I’m excited to get to the conference and start learning.

Can you give us a little preview of your session?

SMM:I’m so excited about this session! I’ll be speaking Sunday night during the Lightening Talks with Michelle Luhtala about when your mentors become your closest friends. Michelle was my mentor and now she is one of my best friends. We’re going to have so much fun sharing what we’ve learned with other Teacher Librarians.

Which sessions are you most looking forward to attending, besides your own?

SMM:John Schumacher (MrSchuReads) is going to kick-off the conference on Sunday night with a lot of energy and fun. He is amazing and I’m excited to hear his ideas for helping kids fall in love with reading.

Monday’s keynote is going to be great too. Michelle Luhtala is really changing people’s perceptions about what a library is. I can’t wait to hear what she’s doing with her Makerspace. I know I’m going to walk away with a ton of new ideas.

There are so many sessions to choose from but two others that I don’t want to miss are Katy Kauffman and Chelsey Kolpin talking about Makerspaces for grades 7-12. Most of my experience with Makerspaces has been with younger kids so I’m interested to hear what they’re doing to engage older students.

And on Monday afternoon, Ernie Cox is going to talk about summer reading and how to make sure students have access to reading materials over the summer. This is always one of my favorite topics and I’m excited to learn about what they’re doing at College Community School District.

Which technologies are you most interested in learning about while you’re at the conference?

SMM: Definitely Chrome extensions. Beth Swantz has a session on Monday morning about these hidden gems that will transform your teaching and learning and I’m really interested to learn more about these tools and hear how other Teacher Librarians are using them.

What recommendations do you have for Teacher Librarians to get the most out of attending the conference?

This conference is a great place to learn new things and make wonderful new connections with amazing Teacher Librarians. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Go to a session on a topic that is completely new to you. And choose sessions with speakers you haven’t heard before. Don’t feel like you have to stay for a full session. There are so many to choose from! If two interest you during the same time slot go to both of them. Learn as much as you can!

And be sure to follow #iowatl. Even if you’re not going to the conference you can learn what is going on and will probably discover new resources and ideas.

Learn more about the IASL conference at