Library History

Mercer Community Center Built

January 1, 1937

The Community Center building was constructed as a project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which hired Iron County residents mostly Finnish descent to construct the facility from whole logs of Norway pine. From a 1938 W.P.A. History of Iron County: “The Finn, with ax and augur as his only tools, builds a wall that is airtight without mortar, each log meeting the next so closely, each intersection being shaped so consisely [sic], that the logs fairly merge into one another. The logs being used in the community building at Mercer are eighty to ninety feet long with twelve inch butts and eight inch tops. No machinery of any sort is used to hoist these huge trunks from the group to the desired position some twelve or fourteen feet above… No nails or spikes are used in the construction… Heavy wooden pins, hand made, are driven into auger holes, and upon these the perfect joints and balance and stability of the whole structure depends.” The original building has been heavily remodeled over the years, but a few parts of the original construction can still be seen inside the building.

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Women’s Civic Club starts a new library

January 1, 1938

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…

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Mercer Library continues to grow

December 1, 1939

By the end of 1939 there were approximately 600 books in the Mercer Library. By September of 1941, the library was open for 21 days a month for a total of 132 hours.

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First Library Board appointed

May 28, 1956

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,…

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Library moves to Haines Building

January 1, 1980

By 1980, the library had outgrown its space in the Community Center. 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.

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Townspeople vote to build new library

May 1, 1993

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 built to expand the library.

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New library opens

October 1, 1997

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.

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New library staff hired

October 5, 1997

Debbie Hohner was hired as children’s librarian and Renie Lawrence was hired as library assistant. Debbie would go on to serve as director of the Mercer Library for over 10 years.

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Mercer begins plans to expand the library again

October 1, 2007

Over the next 13 years, the library’s collection more than doubled and the number of annual visitors to the library more than tripled. The library continued 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 convened to discuss the possibility…

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New library director hired

September 1, 2008

After 10 years of dedicated service to the Mercer Library, Debbie Hohner took a new job as a teacher at Mercer School. Teresa Schmidt was hired as the library’s new director.

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Library expansion project completed

May 1, 2013

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. The square…

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