The wife and mother of two works as a serials librarian at the William G. Squires Library at Lee University, and her hobbies include playing the bass guitar for a local rock band.
“I like playing loud music and doing things that don’t fit the stereotype of a librarian,” Mercer said.
Originally from Owensboro, Ky., she moved to Cleveland with her husband 10 years ago.
Before that, she had studied at the University of Kentucky, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in library science. Many librarians find themselves dealing with repeat offenders like the type who constantly turn in their books late. The repeat offenders Mercer worked with at her very first job as a librarian were more worrisome to her.
Her first job after finishing graduate school was working in the library of a men’s medium-security prison.
“Being in the prison system, you have to constantly be on guard,” Mercer said.
She added that the inmates would often try to manipulate the staff into doing things for them and that she once found a weapon just outside her office.
It was around that time that Mercer said she began to find her Christian faith — even though her job at the prison surrounded her with opposite influences.
“I was in such a dark place,” she said. “But that was where my life began.”
She grew up with “a lot of formal religion” but had not yet come to faith herself. Mercer saw the lives of the inmates and noticed her priorities beginning to change. She said the result was that she learned new lessons along the way.
“One of the biggest ones is that I don’t have to conform to anyone’s standards — only God’s,” she said.
Mercer said she has been considering writing a book about that very subject and added that she had researched many other religions before finding one she said made a difference in her life.
Around that same time she found faith, she met her husband, Lee. The couple later married and moved to Cleveland about three years after that.
After the move, Mercer began work at Lee University’s library, and her husband began his job teaching automotive technology classes at Cleveland High School.
The couple has two sons, 10-year-old Joseph and 11-year-old Luke. Mercer said conversations with her children have helped strengthen her personal beliefs because they are so curious about everything they learn.
“They ask valid questions that keep me on my toes,” she said.
Mercer said she has also learned much from students she has met while working at Lee University. She said she wants to be known as someone who sees value in what other people have to say, and can learn from others.
“That’s one of the things I like most about my job,” she said. “Sometimes I’m just amazed by the wisdom and insight they have, even as young adults.”
When Mercer is not working at the library, she plays bass guitar in a band with her husband and two sons. She says the band’s style is rock with influences of blues and funk, and it shares the family’s last name — Mercer. They have played at various events, including a local October concert called “Greater Than Myself” that featured artists from a few different states and a block party they hosted for their neighborhood.
She said the band has helped the family grow closer as they play together, and she jokes they do not have to worry about problems like the drummer not showing up for a performance.
Mercer and her husband also run a company called OneStrum Media that provides recording studio space and guidance for up-and-coming music artists.
At the end of the day, she said she sees life as a journey. So far, it has brought her through milestones like graduating from college, starting her career, meeting her husband and having children. Only time will tell what the rest of it will bring.