Volume 3, Number 7 - December 4, 2012

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Diana Cricien

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Alrene Merves at her desk
Stamping Away: Arlene Merves, who works at the Miami Dade College North Campus library, is retiring Dec. 21 after 33 years of service at the College.

Arlene Merves To Retire After 33 At North Campus Library

By Diana Cricien

A small room inside the library at North Campus holds 33 years of hard work in colorful binders.

Pictures of relatives, drawings, and diplomas adorn the walls of Arlene Merves’ office. Memories flash in her mind as she describes the memories—every detail a reflection of her.

Merves, a 66-year-old book cataloguer, will retire on Dec. 21, taking with her the mementos hanging on the walls.

“I loved it so much,” Merves said, when describing her job at the college.

Her career started as a high school teacher in Canada. She eventually became a librarian, finding her passion for cataloging books. Merves moved to Miami in July of 1977 and started working at Miami Dade College in September of 1979.

Along with finding her dream job, Merves also found love.

She fell in love with baking, piano playing, postage stamp collecting, stamping and journalism professor David Merves.

On January 2, 1994 they married; he agreed to accept her through the good, the bad, and the hobbies.

According to Arlene Merves, their home is filled with cabinets that tower up to the ceiling. Cabinets full of stamps and books of all her hobbies.

She has collected more than 1,000 rubber stamps, 500 stamp heads and more than 600 markers, which she uses to make greeting cards for friends and relatives.

“You would cry if you would see my house,” Merves said.

Much like her office, her home is a representation of more than ten years of dedication to her hobbies.

“David has one chair to sit on and two toilet seats,” Merves snickered.

She said her husband is her greatest supporter.While he relaxes in his chair, watching TV after a long day at work, she constantly seeks his advice on colors for a greeting card, or the placement of a sticker.

Her love for stamping emerged in 2003 when her sister asked her to accompany her to a store called Stamping Wild. After that trip, she  began to collect rubber stamps and stamp heads, and  take classes to learn stamping techniques.

“Whatever I have,” Merves said about the size of her collection. “I have a lot.”

According to David, as long as Arlene is happy, he is happy.

“She’s very dedicated,” Merves said when describing her card-making.

Each card she makes takes weeks of planning, and about 20 to 25 hours.

“I don’t get sleep,” Merves said while laughing.

Merves applies every detail of precision she uses in her cataloguing techniques at work to her card making. Every card must be perfect. At the sight of any imperfection she  starts anew.

“Every little thing you do has to be perfect,” Merves said.

Her colleagues describe Merves as an example to humanity. She is admired for her humbleness, nobility and kindness.

“She deserves to rest,” said Estrella Iglesias, the learning resources director at North Campus.

After 33 years at MDC, Merves is ready to fill the empty boxes waiting in her office and continue a life dedicated to her hobbies.

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
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Contact the Office of Director, Equal Opportunity Programs, ADA and Title IX Coordinator, at 305.237.2577 for assistance.