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Want to program a robot or make slime? Librarian Jen Eilers can help

Want to program a robot or make slime? Librarian Jen Eilers can help

Meet the Staff

Programming Librarian Jen Eilers is our newest featured staff member in our series introducing the people of the Cedar Rapids Public Library. Jen started working here just over two years ago.

What does your job typically include?

It’s hard to say what I typically do because programming is such a varied job. I’d say there’s always a little research involved, as well as gathering and purchasing materials necessary for programs.

I also usually try to tie the activity or program to books we have in the Library’s collection; but from there the day in and day out can look radically different. Some days I may be building a robot out of a motor and a toothbrush with patrons while another day is spent collaborating with community partners via email.

What made you want to work here?

I was excited to work for a library that valued patron interaction through programming. I’ve worked at other libraries and did classes or programs in those places but often didn’t have the time to think through, plan and problem solve programs before taking them to the public. Engaging with patrons at programs was one of the most meaningful ways I saw people using the library, so when this position popped up, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

What’s your favorite part about working here?

My co-workers. I work with some of the smartest, funniest, kindest, and most helpful individuals on the planet.

Do you have any moments or stories from the Library that stand out that you would want to share with patrons?

This summer I did outreach at the Northwest Recreation Center, and I just loved helping families make slime or circuit cards or get our Ozobot robots to follow the design they created on their paper with markers. From week to week, families would return together and make an evening out of what was going on – it became their family fun night to connect and play.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

I like going for walks or hikes with my kids. We also like a good movie night at home with popcorn and treats. I also enjoy board games with close friends and sewing and embroidering things for friends and family members. Oh, and plants – I enjoy cultivating house plants.

What’s your favorite book genre? Why?

I like fiction primarily and read pretty widely within that. I am a sucker for a good mystery – either a cozy one or a thriller. I just read Arsenic and Adobo by Mia Manansala and really enjoyed her new detective quite a bit – very Miss Marple.

Do you have a favorite book or author? What do you like about them?

This answer changes based on what I’ve read lately, though typically my go-to favorite book is the Harry Potter series. I pretty much read that every year. But a book I read recently that has stayed with me is This is How You Lost the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. It is a little slip of a book, and it’s both a wonderful romance story and an interesting sci-fi thriller. Basically the book is letters between two warring, time traveling cyborgs that chase each other through history, changing events to benefit their faction in the time war. It’s beautifully written, has a little bit of a variety of genres and is a quick read.

If you could pick a superpower, what would it be?

Time traveling – I am sadly perpetually late.

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