Curtis Memorial Library’s Fireside Writers Group meets in the 1904 Building on Oct. 14. (CURTIS MEMORIAL LIBRARY PHOTO)

We sent our only child off to college this fall and are suffering from a form of nostalgia that some call empty nest syndrome. This is definitely a transitional moment for our family, and it has led me to revisit old photographs and memories of our son, Sam, when he was little.

One of the things we always did when it got cold was commit ourselves to spending more time at Curtis Memorial Library. The library was a haven with its kids and teen areas, and sometimes we would even be able to induce him to spend some time with us in front of the cozy fireplace in the 1904 Building.

In elementary school, Sam was determined to check out every cookbook from a children’s series on world cuisines, and one of the librarians always saw us coming from a mile away. Every week she asked what recipe he’d made from the previous set of cookbooks and what he was planning to make from the new pile. To this day, Sam takes cookbooks very seriously, an interest nurtured from his years at the library.

Although Sam had outgrown Music Fun with Miss Teresa, it’s a relief to many parents that this Friday morning programming has resumed in person after a long COVID-19 hiatus. Many Brunswick and Harpswell children have grown up with her weekly explorations of music and movement, and she is no doubt responsible for numerous children’s presence in the area’s school music programs.

Quite frankly, it’s been some time since Sam would attend the library with me; these days I go solo. But over the last few years I’ve been particularly excited by the Library of Things, which contains an eclectic collection ranging from acoustic guitars to rock tumblers to apple peelers.

Something I’ve checked out annually is the professional dehydrator. I’ve experimented with drying everything from local produce to leftover supermarket raspberries; the latter turned out to be great for baking during the midwinter slump. After checking out a tortilla press and raving about it to my sister, she bought one for me, so I’m no longer hogging it. Check out all that the Library of Things has to offer at

And the space itself has been a haven during the pandemic, when I’ve needed to leave the house. There’s always a quiet place to work, fast Wi-Fi and wireless printing, and there’s a fire in the fireplace several days a week for quiet contemplation. The Fireside Writers Group, where those seeking a peaceable community of writers can gather on Friday mornings, is back in session.

I must confess, however, that one of my favorite pandemic-era developments has been the self-checkout area: I regularly order books online and, once notified, can scoop them up from my spot on the shelf quickly and easily.

That Curtis is open seven days for a total of 62 hours a week is a boon for those of us in Brunswick and Harpswell. Any resident in our communities — including seasonal, taxpaying residents — can get a free library card from Curtis, even if your closest libraries are on Orr’s Island or in Cundy’s Harbor. The libraries work in concert, so you can have a library card from more than one.

November is the perfect time to check out what Curtis has to offer as we start hunkering down; our newly child-free household will be patronizing it regularly. And I promise to return the dehydrator to the Library of Things soon!

Curtis Memorial Library, on Pleasant Street in Brunswick, provides free library cards to Harpswell residents. Lisa Botshon, a professor of English at the University of Maine at Augusta, serves as vice chair of the Curtis Memorial Library Board of Directors.

“Library Connections” is a monthly column that rotates among the three libraries that serve Harpswell: Cundy’s Harbor, Orr’s Island and Curtis Memorial.