Meet the Board: Jennifer Rodewald

Board member Jennifer RodewaldJennifer Rodewald, Columbia and Boone County Library District Board Member

Jennifer Rodewald attended the University of Missouri, where she earned a double-major in English and political science in 2007, and graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2011. She returned to Columbia in 2011, where she now lives with her husband, Brandon, and their two kids, Chloe (age 9) and Jackson (age 4). Jennifer is currently the government relations counsel at Shelter Insurance. Before working at Shelter, she was an assistant county counselor, assistant prosecuting attorney and assistant attorney general in the criminal appeals division.

What were your favorite books from your childhood?
My favorite book when I was a kid was “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch. I remember my dad reading it to me multiple times and never being able to get through the book without choking up. I never really understood his emotional connection to the book until I read it to my own kids and realized I couldn’t get through it without crying either. Books have such a powerful connection to our emotions, and this book will always have a special place in my heart.

What book would you recommend others read and why?
Since the pandemic, my reading has slanted toward light/escapist/not-close-to-reality, and I have so many recommendations in this vein! I’ll go with the “The Murderbot Diaries” series by Martha Wells. It’s a series of short stories about a part-human, part-robot construct which was designed to be a security unit and somehow overwrote its programming to allow it some independence and emotional attachments.

Why are libraries important to our community?
Libraries are important because they give access to information and ideas to everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic circumstances. As a safe haven for all ideas — both ones with which we agree and ones with which we disagree — libraries are truly a foundational pillar of freedom.

Name one library accomplishment that stands out to you.
I’m personally so proud of our library for expanding its digital resources so extensively. I’ve gotten so accustomed to having 10 holds for eBooks that I can hardly remember when our limit was three! I love being able to take books with me everywhere I go by reading on my phone, and the library has a very impressive selection of eBooks!

What is one of your cherished personal library memories?
The Harry Potter books started coming out when I was the prime target age for the series, but for whatever reason I refused to read them then. When my daughter was born, I decided I would wait for her to learn to read and then read them with her. I might have waited too long, because she decided to read them on her own, and then we just read them in tandem. My husband got in on the fun and started reading them, too, and when we finished each book, we had a movie-watching party to watch the movie version. My husband even found some chocolate frogs and Bott’s beans to go along with the theme!

Each library board member serves on his or her own district board as well as on the Daniel Boone Regional Library board, which is the governing body responsible for policy-making and fiscal oversight.