A Brief History of the Mineral County Library
In the 1940’s, the USO maintained a collection of exchange books. In 1954, the Business and Professional Women (BPW) opened lending libraries in Hawthorne and Babbitt. The BPW hired Rosa King and Elva Morris as staff. By the next year, Mineral County accepted the Hawthorne Library, established a Board of Trustees, and appointed Rosa King as Director and Elva Morris as Assistant.
An original building was outgrown, so in 1963 a Babbitt house was in place and renovated for the Hawthorne library. The Mina Branch was established in the first of three facilities in 1965.
In 1974, W. W. “Woody” Loftin made a personal grant of $40,000 to begin work on a new library. The facility was completed in 1978. During this period, Helen Miller served as Assistant to the Director and was later named Director. A bequest from Loftin’s estate made a later extension possible and in 1988, Judy Baird was appointed Director and began the work on the planned expansion.
Steve Schlatter, appointed as Director in 1995, completed the expansion in 2001 which established new meeting rooms, a children’s room, and storage area. He also oversaw the expansion of collections in both Hawthorne and Mina, and upgraded technological facilities. At the time, the computer center was among the largest in the state’s rural libraries.
Longtime staff member Antonia “Toni” Dellamonica became Director in 2002. Toni was instrumental in guiding the Friends of the Library group, which had incorporated in 1983, through the successful application for 501(c)(3) nonprofit designation. Toni applied for and was granted an E. L. Cord Foundation grant which allowed for the remodeling of the original building with interior painting, new tables and chairs, and professional cleaning including the vaulted ceiling windows.
Jasmine Odom worked all positions in the library prior to becoming Director in 2007. She modernized record keeping in the library and updated the children’s collection with high-interest books funded both by county budget and grants such as the Libri Foundation grant. She assisted other libraries in the Nevada Library Cooperative (formerly Cooperative Libraries Automated Network) consortium with cataloging of their collections thereby improving the collection database.
The current Director, Courtney Oberhansli, was appointed in 2010. During her tenure, the library underwent a front entrance renovation including landscaping, lighting, ADA accessible doors and handicap ramp; bathroom renovations to meet ADA requirements; and a current foundation and landscaping project that will keep flooding from occurring on the building’s southern side. She brought Virtual Reality, 3D printing and coding labs, Xbox and Wii gaming systems to the Hawthorne library, and specialized children’s computer learning stations to both the Hawthorne and Mina libraries.