The days of a teacher standing in front of a blackboard talking for 50 minutes through six or seven periods a day have come and gone. Nowhere is that more evident than in Kathy Kaldenberg’s world.
Kaldenberg is the media specialist or librarian at all three Solon schools: Lakeview Elementary School, Solon Middle School and Solon High School. She has the seemingly overwhelming responsibility of helping every teacher and every student find resources to help them with projects, assignments, research — you name it.
She has to know what is available and where to find it. It’s a whole lot more challenging than thumbing through the card catalog to find “Silas Marner.”
She is the walking, talking, instant-messaging personification of the collaborative effort that is teaching in the 21st century at Solon.
Teachers and administrators are open to changes in materials, presentation and technology, and she helps facilitate those forays into new worlds.
While she is a baby boomer, she has been anything but a techno-phobe, and that’s enabled her to embrace the changing technology that she’s seen in the three decades since graduating with a degree in library science.
“I’ve just always been kind of geeky,” she said. “My husband and I, he’s an engineer, so we’ve always been, like, early adopters. We had one of the first personal computers.”
“Information literacy” is her business. For elementary students, she starts at the beginning with how to become a good digital citizen and how to create a good digital footprint.
Elementary students are the most enthusiastic users of an online forum that resembles Facebook, but it’s used solely to talk about books. Every comment is reviewed for grammar, taste and pertinence. It’s a safe environment to learn to write, reason, share and discuss.
She lauds the staff at Lakeview and Solon Middle School for their dedication and desire to improve. She can do that because she helps lead the way.
The days of a librarian sitting behind a circulation desk from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and worrying only about excessive talking are long gone, too.
— Susan Harman