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Staff Spotlight: Merle Slyhoff

September 03, 2021

Staff Spotlight
Staff Spotlight
This month’s staff spotlight is Collection Development Librarian Merle Slyhoff!

Merle Slyhoff Headshot 3 Essential Qs

What is your role and how long have you been working at Biddle?

I am leaving with the title Collection Development Librarian but have had many titles since my start in 1977.

What has helped you adjust to working from home?

I always suspected I am a “learned extrovert” and working from home has proven that to me. I enjoy being around other people but I’m also quite content to work alone. Of course if it hadn’t been for Zoom work meetings and friend meet-ups I may not have been so content. Eventually those face-to-face meet-ups will resume and I will gladly resume being a “learned extrovert”

What book/s are you reading right now?

“There There” by Tommy Orange and “The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Coen, Jeff Buckley and the Unlikely Ascent of Hallelujah” by Alan Light. I get into many heated discussions about this Cohen classic.

Lightning Round

Cats or dogs?


Fiction or non-fiction?


Comedy or horror?


Sweet or savory?


Coffee or tea?

Depends on the season

Wildcard Questions

What is the last television series you binged?

The Royle Family. It’s a British tv show that is absolutely brilliant. On one level it seems like a rather insipid sitcom but when you look beyond that the writing and acting are on a level that raise it to brilliant.

If you would meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?

My great-grandparents on both sides. I am only second generation born-American and not much is known beyond my grandparents but doing more genealogical searching is already in my “Retirement Life” book.

Where did you grow up?

Proud to be Camden, NJ, born and raised through college. And as soon as I could I left… all the way over the bridge to Philly.

What is your educational background?

I got my AB from Rutgers University, Camden and my MSLIS from Drexel University. Many people have asked over the years why I didn’t get a law degree. I knew it wasn’t for me. I’m always playing Devil’s advocate, delving into things, asking questions. Yes, these may be considered the traits of a lawyer but the studying law part was never something I ever wanted to do.

What are your passions outside of work?

Pottery. It is relaxing and mind-numbing in the best way (I can’t worry about anything else while working on the wheel) and I find the comradery with other potters and people who buy my work to be both satisfying and exhilarating.

Afer 44 years of service, Merle is retiring from Biddle Law Library. Read reflections on her career.