Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Leading, Connecting and Learning at the 5th annual IASL spring conference

Over 200 attendees and exhibitors braved rain, wind, sleet and (yes) snow to lead, learn and connect Sunday April 13 and Monday April 14 in Cedar Rapids at the Hotel at Kirkwood Center.

First arrivals included the members of the IASL executive board, your colleagues who volunteer their time and expertise to keep the association viable, meaningful and energized. Later on in the evening, Christine Sturgeon, IASL president presided over the first IASL membership meeting to be held during the spring conference.

At 5:30 pm, the first ever book swap kicked off the official activities, with the rest of the evening emceed by Ernie Cox of Prairie Creek Intermediate School. He welcomed the evening presenters from the Iowa Reading Research Center, Michelle Hosp and Kris Donnelly.

And the evening concluded on an electrifying note, with a round of 5 minute "lightning talks" on a wide variety of subjects, from genrefication to Chromebooks.

The rain continued through the night, but the registration table and breakfast buffet were busy by 8 am with attendees gearing up for a day of networking, learning, connecting and even getting professional photos taken for portfolios.

It was a full house of teacher librarians and a handful of administrators for Alan November's non-traditional keynote. Riffing through web sites using Google search, Alan challenged all of us to connect globally, think outside the traditional lesson plan and even downsize our book collections. He prompted us to think seriously about WHO OWNS THE LEARNING? 

He was joined by his friend and our Iowa colleague, Shannon Miller, for an interactive discussion of ways we can and are making these meaningful connections.

Our own members filled a 15 slot schedule of dynamic and diverse concurrent sessions held before and after lunch. See the conference program for titles and links to presentation materials. 

The announcement of our IASL book award winners is always a conference highlight and this year was no exception. Gail Dickinson, our AASL president and guest, followed up with a rousing reminder that "It's not about libraries. It's about learning!"

The afternoon break included an no-conflict time for exhibits, table talks, dessert and finally, a little sun!
By 4:15 pm the meeting rooms were emptied and most attendees were headed home, brains buzzing with ideas and possibilities.

Thank you to the 66 attendees who responded to the feedback survey. See a sample of the results below.