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 Board of Directors (consisting of 12-15 individuals) who may be elected to serve up to two consecutive three-year terms.
A book was written in 1976 with the history of the library by the late historian Louise Helmreich titled A History of the Public Library in Brunswick, Maine. A digital version is available here.
Though not a municipal department, the library formally serves the Towns of Brunswick (20,278) and Harpswell (4,740). In addition, the library serves students at Southern New Hampshire University, Southern Maine Community College, and students and families of St. John’s School. Curtis also has a Community Health Information Partnership (CHIP) with Mid Coast Hospital and a partnership with Cornerstones of Science (CoS) which was founded at Curtis in 1999.
The library’s most recent Mission, Vision, and Values statements were developed by the library Board of Directors in 2008. The library’s strategic plan was developed at the same time and then was updated in 2011 and again in 2015.
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.
In October 1999, the library commenced operations in an expanded and renovated 44,000 square foot facility on Pleasant Street. 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 1 GB 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, e-magazines, audio books, and movies, all of which that may be downloaded for use on personal devices.
The library staff of 34 (21 Full-time employees) supports a seven day per week schedule. Included on the staff are 10 employees with advanced library degrees. 288 volunteers supplement the paid staff in delivering a wide range of library related programs and services.
The library operations budget ($1,474,378 FY 2014-2015) draws from many sources in addition to municipal funding, such as annual giving, unrestricted donations, grants, endowment fund earnings and Friends of the Library support.
Policy is established by the Board of Directors and amended from time to time so that policy accurately reflects best practice in serving our patrons. Anyone who has questions regarding policies or concern about how policy is implemented at Curtis Memorial Library is encouraged to contact the Library Director.
The library’s bylaws were established at the library’s founding in 1883. They are reviewed and updated by the Board of Directors on a regular basis. Any changes recommended by the Board are voted on by the Library Association annual meeting which is held on the third Thursday of November.