The Brunswick Public Library Association, founded in 1883, is a 501(c)(3) organization that operates the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick, Maine. It is governed by a 15 member Board of Directors who may be elected to serve up to two consecutive three-year terms.
Though not a municipal department, the library formally serves the Towns of Brunswick (21,172) and Harpswell (5,239). In addition, the library serves students at Southern New Hampshire University and also students and families of St. John’s School.
In 1903, the library received a gift of land and money from William J. Curtis to build a permanent structure on Pleasant Street. The original library building was completed in 1904 and was dedicated to William’s father John Curtis, a celebrated ship’s captain who sailed from the Brunswick area to ports around the world in the second half of the 19th century. Many of the ships Capt. Curtis sailed are pictured in the Quiet Study rooms in the original section of the library.
In October 1999, the library commenced operations in an expanded and renovated 45,000 square foot facility on Pleasant Street designed by Amsler Woodhouse MacLean, Architects, Inc. of Boston, with local supervision by Douglas Richmond Architects of Brunswick. The $6.2 million facility was made possible by a combination of public funds ($4.0 million bond – approved by a 70% vote) and private support ($2.2 million – raised by the library).
The library provides high speed network to over 80 terminals for public and staff use utilizing a 100 MB fiber optic internet connection. Free wireless access is also available. A variety of e-readers preloaded with many books are available to borrow from the reference desk. In addition, the library provides access to e-books, audio books, and independent movies that may be downloaded for use on personal devices.
The library staff of 42 (21 Full-time employees) supports a seven day per week schedule. Included on the staff are 12 employees with advanced library degrees. 350 volunteers supplement the paid staff in delivering a wide range of library related programs and services.
The library operations budget ($1,342,827 FY 2012-2013) draws from many sources in addition to municipal funding (85.2%), such as annual giving, unrestricted donations, grants, endowment fund earnings and Friends of the Library support. Both Curtis Friends membership and library’s Annual Book Fund have concurrently set records for the past few years.