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Staff Spotlight: Mary Shelly

June 30, 2022

Mary Shelly
Mary Shelly
This month’s staff spotlight is Mary Shelly! Mary is a Reference Librarian here at Biddle. She started working remotely back in 2020 during early quarantine days, but you can now find her on site.

Mary Shelly


The Essential Questions

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

I’m a reference librarian here at Biddle. In a nutshell, that means that I help people find the legal resources they need. In addition to working regular shifts at the reference desk, I work with both students and faculty members on their research projects. I also teach Advanced Legal Research, which is another fun way I get to work with students here. I started remotely at Biddle in the fall of 2020, and then started working in-person at the start of 2022.

Where did you work before your time at Biddle?

I took what feels like a winding path to law librarianship, so I worked several places before starting at Biddle. The work that ultimately led to me pursuing librarianship started when I was a research assistant after law school (for various faculty members and projects), and then in my research fellowship at the Uniform Law Commission in Chicago. While I was in graduate school, I worked for both the University of Michigan Law Library and the D’Angelo Law Library at the University of Chicago Law School. And now I’m here!

What book/s are you reading right now?

Right now I’m reading Torn Apart, by Dorothy Roberts. I used to be the sort of person with a whole pile of books in progress, but grad school and then the pandemic have diminished my capacity to focus on reading. So these days, I work my way slowly through one book at a time.

Lightning Round

Cats or dogs?

Both! The more the better, really.

Fiction or non-fiction?

Generally non-fiction, though I do need to intersperse my non-fiction reading with fiction now and again.

Comedy or horror?

Comedy. I cannot stress this enough.

Sweet or savory?

Both, but tilted in the direction of sweet.

Coffee or tea?


Wildcard Qs

What is the last television series you binged?

I technically didn’t binge this, but the last television show I watched was the first season of Our Flag Means Death. I will unfortunately be on the edge of my seat for a long time waiting for season two (but yay! There will be a season two!)! The last show I did actually binge was the first two seasons of Starstruck, starring and created by Rose Matafeo. I was delighted to learn that there will be another season of that show too!

What is your favorite indoor/outdoor activity?

These are hobbies that I developed later in life, but I’ve really come to appreciate hiking, camping, and backpacking. I always used to joke that I was an indoor cat at heart, but I’ve really enjoyed how these outdoor activities have allowed me to explore and do things that I had never done before. They force me out of my comfort zone (sometimes quite literally), but I’ve learned so much and have seen so many beautiful things and places as a result.

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

Prince. Can you imagine getting the chance to talk music with Prince??

What are your passions outside of work?

Early in the pandemic I started relearning how to use my sewing machine, so I’ve been enjoying making new things! I’ve made cloth napkins, some clothes (including some t-shirts that I’m particularly proud of: sewing with knit fabric is tricky!), and a few dog jackets for our elderly pups. I’d also include my pets as one of my outside-of-work passions: my husband and I have one dog and two cats who bring us a lot of joy and laughter (and one dog we recently had to say goodbye to, but still love dearly). Also, as a new Philadelphian, I’ve been really enjoying exploring our neighborhood and our new city.