Sunday, March 23, 2014


I wrote this profile for the most recent issue of the ILA Catalyst.

Get to Know ILA Director Kathy Kaldenberg

I just googled my name and got 119,000 hits. Wow, there is a lot about me that you could figure out just by browsing through the results. For example, I have accounts all around the web, going back to the mid-nineties, so it is pretty obvious that I’m an over- joiner. But I’m also a sharer. I have several blogs, a YouTube channel, web sites, presentations, a few published articles, and an active life on social media. It’s also pretty evident that I like technology, but look into Goodreads or LibraryThing and you’d find that I am a bibliophile as well.

Digging a little deeper, you’ll see that I’ve worked all over the country (New Jersey, California, New Mexico, Illinois, Florida) in many different kinds of libraries (public, municipal, county, community college, distance learning, military, school) and that I’ve been active in all kinds of associations from ALA to NJLA JMRT to the Storytellers of Las Cruces. Not so obvious is that it was the Air Force which took my family and me most of those places, and that one of my coping mechanisms was to find like-minded colleagues in the literary and library world.

Do an image search and you won’t find as much (luckily!), but you’ll see some bad hair days (and a lot of images that are truly baffling in their connection to me). Look for the guy with the red tie. That’s my husband.

But as librarians, we know that Google does not know all, that it searches only a fraction of the world’s knowledge, that it is a cold computer search with no heart, and so it goes with the search engine’s representation of my life.

If Google’s search results illustrated what was important to me, not what was calculated by the algorithm, you’d get a more rounded view. There would be a hit on the first page describing how lucky I am to work each day with dedicated, smart, and fun educators. Another hit would explain what an honor it has been to see a generation of students move through the school system, maturing into admirable young men and women. Somewhere in the list would be a tribute to the importance of family, explaining that after twenty plus years of using vacation time to visit Iowa, we have been “home” for almost eleven years, enjoying being close to siblings, parents, nieces, nephews, and making new friends whom we love dearly.

So, as much as I love tech, the real value is in the ungoogleable—the hug, the smile, the kind note—all things I have experienced through my association with ILA. Thank you for the chance to represent you on the ILA Executive Board. 

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