A new agreement locks in the town’s annual contribution to Curtis Memorial Library through 2025. After annual increases since 2011, the town will pay the same rate for four years.
The town will contribute $159,089 to Curtis Memorial Library this year and each of the next two years, the same amount as in 2022. Each year’s contribution is subject to voter approval at annual town meeting.
Harpswell’s contribution to Curtis Memorial has grown 15 of the last 16 years, at rates ranging from 1.3% in 2017 to 6.49% in 2007. The exception was 2011, which saw a 4.08% decrease.
The agreement describes Curtis Memorial, of Brunswick, as the “full-service public library” for Harpswell. All residents, year-round and seasonal, are eligible for free memberships to the library. The town maintains a drop box for Curtis books at the Town Office.
Harpswell has two libraries within its borders: Cundy’s Harbor Library and Orr’s Island Library, both of which keep part-time hours. Curtis is open seven days a week, except when it closes on Sundays from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
Town Administrator Kristi Eiane credited Select Board member Jane Covey with working “tirelessly” to achieve a “really good” agreement for the town. Covey met with representatives of the Harpswell libraries, Harpswell’s representatives to the Curtis board, Curtis Memorial’s director, and the Harpswell Budget Advisory Committee.
“Ultimately, the library proposed three years of flat funding; however, in my estimation, Select Board member Covey’s approach to negotiations helped lead to this outcome,” Eiane said in an email.
Among its many services, Curtis Memorial plans to bring a bookmobile to various Harpswell locations this summer, Covey said during a Select Board meeting on Dec. 29. The Select Board approved the agreement 3-0.
Curtis Memorial Library Executive Director Liz Doucett said in an email that the library “is very happy to continue the relationship that we’ve had with Harpswell since 1974.”
Doucett said she is always available to patrons who have questions or concerns. They can stop by her office, call 207-607-4126, or email email@example.com.