Most people who have visited the Northside Library have seen Cheryl Lee, the branch manager and program coordinator who carries a bright smile and walks with a lively bounce. Since starting her job last August, Lee has been known for the out-of-the-box library programs she organizes, such as the 80s prom, home organization series, mother and daughter etiquette tea party, photography sessions for LinkedIn profile pictures and Star Wars day.
“We want to be in the realm of community education and lifelong learning,” says Lee. “I also like to help people try new things. My goal is to eventually permeate our services outside the library and bring the library to people. In the future, I’d like to try for story time at Levi’s Stadium. At my last librarian job in Palo Alto, I brought story time to different venues, such as Pottery Barn Kids, the animal shelter and the Tesla showroom.”
Speaking of her former job at the Palo Alto City Library, Lee recalls programs she put on, some inspired by her self-proclaimed addiction to reality TV.
“Sometimes I’d like to take a reality show and fuse it at work,” Lee says. “One thing I was known for at my previous library job was Reverse American Idol. We were on the search for the worst singer in Palo Alto. They got a big prize when we found them. I also did a panel called the Real Housewives of Palo Alto. These moms came from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds, and they talked about the trials and tribulations of being a mom.”
Discussing programming for Northside Library, Lee notes that the STEM programs, such as Code for Fun and Bots for Fun, get a heavy participation from boys. To make girls feel welcome at the library, Lee is putting together a Daddy-Daughter Dance on June 20. In July, a lawyer will present on the legal pitfalls for immigrants who want to start businesses. Later in the summer, the library will partner with Osmo to host a drawing class for adults. On top of all this, Lee is planning the library’s one-year birthday celebration on Aug. 8.
“People think you have to love reading and books to be a librarian, but actually, you have to love people to be a librarian,” says Lee. “You have to resonate with others and be empathetic. You have to be aware of people’s perspectives because we have people coming here from all walks of life.”
When Lee was a high school student, she worked at a library. She didn’t know then that someday she would run her own branch.
“I didn’t know anyone as a kid who dreamt of being a librarian,” she says. “But I love my job and I couldn’t see myself doing anything other than this.”
Lee was born and raised in Mountain View. She received her Master of Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. She likes to read self-help books on business, leadership and real estate.