Library History

In the Mid 1930’s, a group of women organized to form the Mercer Civic Women’s Club.  These ambitious ladies made many contributions to the community.  Among the most noted of their achievements was the opening of the Mercer Public Library in the newly opened community center.  Through the diligent efforts of these women the library was opened in the fall of 1938.  They sent out requests for books and received donations from as far away as Chicago, Illinois.  Neighbors to the north from Ashland and Hurley also donated many books. By the end of 1939 there were approximately 600 books in the Library.  By September of 1941, the library was open for 21 days a month for a total of 132 hours. On May 28, 1956, the town of Mercer appointed the first town library board, formalizing the town’s official sponsorship of the Mercer Public Library. According to minutes from the town’s meeting, the first members of Mercer’s Library Board were: Mrs. Russell Spears, Mrs. Leonard Scheels, Mrs. Herbert Bierle, Mrs. William Hiatt, and Mr. Paul Leitch. In 1980, the town moved the library into the Haines Building on Railroad Street, but in just a few years the library had outgrown its new location. In 1990 the Library board started exploring different options for the library.  At the annual town meeting in May of 1993 the townspeople voted to build a new library and community center. After a lengthy investigation into the feasibility of the project, it was decided that there was not enough money to go ahead with new construction for the joint project.  After much deliberation the town and library board determined that the vacant building that was formerly the community center and library was an excellent site.  The original library room could be made into a reading room, and a new addition could be added on to that for the library. In November of 1996, ground was broken for a new library and the renovation of the community center began. The first completion date of May 31 came and went.  Throughout the summer there were numerous delays, but then on October 1, 1997 the new library opened its doors. Over the next 13 years, the library’s collection more than doubled, and the number of annual visitors to the library more than tripled. By 2007 the library had again outgrown its space. The library continues to grow in numbers of users, books and movies checked out, computer users, and children’s program attendees. In 2007 the library circulated a survey of Mercer residents asking about their use of the library, and the overwhelming response was that the library needs more space. A group of library supporters and town board members has convened to discuss the possibility of adding on to the current library. The library board established a building committee to work on fundraising for a new addition to the library, and after much fundraising and planning, the library broke ground on a 2600-square foot addition to the library in October, 2012. The addition was completed in the spring of 2013 and added a children’s room, meeting room, office, and main library space.