An Interview With SMCL’s Jenna Varden

The San Mateo County Libraries' staff LOVE bringing exciting teen programs and services to inspire and engage you. So who are the unique and talented individuals who run these great programs?

Meet Jenna

Let's learn about Jenna Varden and what makes her tick.

Where Are You From?

"I grew up in Singapore before coming to the U.S. for college and moving to the Bay Area."

What Inspired You to Work in Libraries?

"I grew up always loving books and libraries. I remember when I was first allowed into the adult library, having read everything in the children's library multiple times, and how astounding it was to discover a whole new slew of books to go through. It was where I first got into fantasy books, starting with David and Leigh Eddings' Pawn of Prophecy. When I began working for the library as a library aide and I discovered all the varied programs and services that we offered (along with books, books, books!), I knew it was something that I wanted to do."

What Do You Do at SMCL and Where Can We Find You?

"I'm a Librarian at the Foster City Library."

What Do You Like Most About Your Job?

"My favorite moment is still when you connect someone with the book or bit of information that they were looking for. But I also enjoy planning programs for all ages, and interacting with a diverse group of people."

What Would You Tell People About Libraries That They Might Not Know?

"It's a great community hub where you can write a novel, learn healthy cooking recipes, meet other families at story time, join an adult coloring club, learn computer coding, or meet a robot, among other things…."

(Note: Check out our fantastic programs for teens!)

What Are Your Hobbies?

"I enjoy reading (fantasy, opens a new window, science fiction, opens a new window, graphic novels, opens a new window, manga, opens a new window), writing, and drawing. And learning new crafts, opens a new window and skills for programs."

What Book, Movie, and Album Would You Take With You to a Deserted Island?

"I suppose I would bring Ferris Bueller's Day Off and a U2, opens a new window compilation album, but due to the whole deserted island factor, I'm not sure if I'd be able to fully utilize them without electricity. If I had to bring a single book, it'd probably be Neil Gaiman's American Gods. If I could skip the movie and album and instead bring three books, it would be Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy, opens a new window."

Who Is Your Favorite Fictional Character of All Time?

"I think it'd have to be Belgarath, opens a new window from David and Leigh Edding's Belgariad and Mallorean trilogies. He's an amazing sorcerer who practices the Will and the Word and, to me, wins hands down against Gandalf, opens a new window and Dumbledore, opens a new window."

What Are Some of Your Favorite Foods?

"I eat everything, but I especially enjoy dumplings and hotpot, and fish and chips and pickled onions, and tea and boba."

(Note: What is hotpot? Check out these cookbooks Complete Chinese Cookbook by Ken Hom, Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees by Kian Lam Kho, and Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes by Peter Meehan.)

In One Word, What Do Libraries Mean to You?