Donate books to the library

What items do you take?

The library is happy to take donations of items in good, usable condition. Sometimes we keep items for our library collection, but most items are given to the Friends of the Library for our used book sales. We love hardcovers, paperbacks, children’s books, DVDs, CDs, and board games and puzzles if they are in good condition with all their pieces. We are also happy to take workbooks like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and coloring books if they are in new, unused condition.

What don’t you take?

We cannot accept textbooks, encyclopedias, magazines, and condensed books. We also cannot accept any items that are moldy or have insect damage due to the risk of spreading those problems to other books at the library or in our book sale.

Can I get a receipt?

The library is happy to provide a donation receipt for your donated books and other items, but all we are able to provide is a receipt for the number of items, type (hardcover, paperback, etc.), and general condition. Figuring out their value is a job for you and your tax preparer. The IRS’s guidelines for determining value can be found here – Goodwill, for example, suggests that the value of hardcover books is $1-$3 per book. (See )

What if I have more valuable items?

If you suspect that you have any titles with more value than the average used book, you should take notes on the title, publication date, condition, dust jacket, and any special characteristics like autographs, and then look them up in online booksellers to determine their value. Some sites to check might include and . Factors that affect value include the edition (first editions of important titles have more value than other editions, in general), the condition of the book and dust jacket, presence of authentic autographs from well-known writers, and rarity of the book. Just because a book is old doesn’t mean it is valuable!

Get a Library Card

All residents, property owners, and visitors to the Mercer area are welcome to apply for a library card at no cost. Your card is good at nearly 30 libraries in the Northern Waters Library System.

You will be asked to fill out a simple application form, provide identification, and provide proof of address if your current address does not match your identification. Children under the age of 14 are required to have a parent/guardian signature on their application form. MPL Library Card Application (PDF)

Wisconsin residents who do not have a card from an NWLN member library may also apply for an eCard. You’ll receive a card number that you can use for our digital services, and you can visit an NWLS member library to grade your eCard to a regular library card anytime. Register for an eCard

Library cards expire after one year, and may be renewed by visiting the library to verify your contact information.

The library will serve all customers who request service. Service will not be denied or abridged because of religious, racial, social, economic, or political status; or because of mental, emotional, or physical condition; age; gender; or sexual orientation.

Search the Library Catalog

The Mercer Library is part of the Northern Waters Library Network used by almost 30 libraries in northern Wisconsin. We can request any items in the NWLN catalog to be delivered for our patrons, and we receive deliveries from our partner libraries three times per week.

Visit our online catalog to view and request materials from any of our member libraries.

Log into your account with your name and library card number to view your checked out titles and holds and renew items. If you’ve turned on the “Reading History” feature you can also view the items you’ve checked out on your card in the past.

Use the Advanced Search page to refine your search with filters that can narrow your search results.

Request Books and Other Materials

The Mercer Library is part of the Northern Waters Library Network, and can order any items in the NWLN Catalog to be delivered for our patrons. We receive deliveries from our partner libraries three times per week.

For items not found in the Merlin catalog, including copies of journal and magazine articles, interlibrary loan services are available. Items can often be obtained through WisCat – the catalog of public and academic libraries in Wisconsin. There is no charge for interlibrary loan. Contact our library staff for more information.


  • B&W copy/printing: 15¢ per page, 30¢ double sided or 11″ x 17″
  • Color copy/printing: 30¢ per page, 60¢ double sided or 11″ x 17″
  • Discount copying for nonprofits and local organizations: 10¢ B&W per page; 15¢ color per page.
  • Fax: Outgoing – $1 for the first page, 50¢ for each additional page up to $5. Incoming – 10¢ per page
    Note: to receive a fax at the library, send it to 715-476-2366 – the same as our phone number.
  • Laminating: $1 per sheet up to 8 1/2″ x 11″
  • Scanning to email: No charge
  • USB drives and optical discs: The library’s computers will NOT save any data from public user sessions, so all files must be saved on external drives or discs. The library may have CD-Rom or DVD-Rom discs or USB flash drives for sale at a nominal cost.
  • Due to network setup changes, we do not currently offer mobile/wireless printing. 

Meeting Rooms

The following spaces are available for public use on a first-come, first-served basis or by reservation:

  • The Friends of the Library Room is a semi-private meeting space that holds about 12 people with tables or 20 people with tables removed. This room has windows and glass doors that look into the main library area. There is a wall-mounted television with HDMI and VGA cords to connect to your laptop. A Meeting Owl camera/microphone may be available for online meetings.
  • The Mercer Public Library Reading Room has a fireplace and comfortable seating for about 6 to 8 people. There are no doors to separate this room from the rest of the library, so it is best for small meetings that do not require privacy.
  • The Mercer Library Memory Lab is a small office that can be used as a private work space or online meeting space for one person.

These rooms may be used at no cost by individuals, local businesses (for occasional use only), community organizations, and nonprofit groups. All rooms have access to high-speed WiFi. To reserve a meeting room, call the library at 715-476-2366.

Individuals or businesses who wish to charge admission for attending an educational program in the library’s meeting room will be charged a $25 room use fee. Other types of events that charge admission fees are not permitted in the library’s meeting rooms.

Click here for more details on the library’s meeting room use policy.

If you need room for more attendees, consider reserving the town hall meeting room or the Community Center with the town of Mercer. There may be a fee to use one of the town’s facilities. Reservations are handled by the Mercer Town Clerk, 715-476-2403. More information on reserving town facilities can be found on their website at

WiFi and Library Computers

Our WiFi network is unrestricted, and is available to any wireless devices within range. Please use appropriate caution, as the library is not responsible for securing the data transmitted over our WiFi network. No password is required.

Library computers are available to all patrons. No library card or login information is required to access the computer. During busy times, patrons may be asked to limit their computer use to 60 minutes.

There are no filters on our library network, and the Mercer Public Library takes no responsibility for the content found on the internet.


Borrow Library Materials

Patrons may check out up to 25 items on their library card, including no more than 7 movies per card. The Mercer Library’s lending collections include books, DVDs, books on CD, board games, music CDs, and puzzles. Other items available to borrow at the Mercer Library include:

Loan periods for our circulating items are:

  • Books – 21 days
  • “New” books – 14 days
  • Books on CD – 21 days
  • DVDs – 7 days
  • DVD sets – 14 days
  • Equipment and special items – 7 days
  • Most items can be renewed up to two times if there are no other patrons waiting.

There are no overdue fines on any items at the Mercer Public Library. Patrons are encouraged to honor due dates and request a renewal for items that they wish to keep longer.


Our library system, Northern Waters Library Service in Ashland, offers a free Mail-a-Book service to homebound patrons. Mail-a-Book is a county-funded service available to residents in Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Sawyer, Vilas, and Washburn Counties.

Mail-a-Book patrons can request books, audiobooks, movies and music CDs to be mailed to their home. Patrons can place their requests online through the Merlin catalog, call Northern Waters, or email your requests. You have three options for returning items: (1) U.S. mail (you pay postage) (2) Any NWLS rural book drop (3) Any NWLS member library, including the Mercer Library.

To qualify, you must live in an area not serviced by a local public library or unable to visit a library due to disability or travel limitation. More information and the Mail-a-Book application form is available on the Northern Waters website. 

If you have questions or need help setting up Mail-a-Book services, give us a call at 715-476-2366.