Volunteers Victoria Smith and Katy Kline stack the shelves at Twice-Told Tales bookstore’s new location on Maine Street in Brunswick on Oct. 10 while moving from Pleasant Street. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer)

BRUNSWICK — The used bookstore Twice-Told Tales is getting a second life.

The bookstore operated by the Friends of Curtis Library has moved from Pleasant Street to a high-profile location on Maine Street across from the town green. The move is both a sign of growth for the 4-year-old bookstore and an indication of the continuing changes coming to downtown Brunswick, with restaurants, boutiques and specialty stores taking over retail spaces occupied by longtime, traditional businesses.

Twice-Told Tales, which takes its name from the title of a collection of short stories by Bowdoin College alumnus Nathaniel Hawthorne, will open soon at 200 Maine St. in the space occupied for nearly a century by Bamforth Marine, which was forced to move when the Hannaford grocery store expanded its parking lot.

Twice-Told Tales expects to have a soft opening by the middle of this week and an official grand opening soon thereafter. Since closing the store on Pleasant Street on Sept. 28, volunteers have scrambled to pack about 22,000 books and move approximately 800 boxes from the old store to the new one. Before unpacking the boxes and organizing the new location, they had to prepare the new space for its transition from a marine shop with outboard motors and boats to one suitable for books and CDs.

The new Twice-Told Tales is down the block from Brunswick’s other downtown bookstore, Gulf of Maine Books at 134 Maine St.

The store relied on volunteers to make the move. The 14 members of the Bowdoin squash team spent one morning hauling books, as did nearly two dozen high-school juniors and seniors from town. “It’s been like the cavalry coming,” said volunteer coordinator Barbara Burr, who fed the students pizza in return for their labor. “They come in and do all the heavy lifting.”


Kline looks over boxes of books ready to be unpacked and stacked in the shelves at Twice-Told Tales’ new Maine Street location. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

The home supply store Lowe’s donated and installed flooring for the new bookstore, and The Home Depot provided most of the book boxes used in the move. Bill Doehring, store manager for the Brunswick Lowe’s and a town resident, said Lowe’s picks one local project each year to support. This one was an easy choice, he said. “I know how important the library is to the town,” he said. “We were glad to be able to get involved.”

Katy Kline, a member of the board of the Friends of the Curtis Library, called the effort to transform the space “heroic and imaginative. We’re a community bookstore supporting a community library, and we’re all volunteers.”

Library director Elisabeth Doucett is eager to see the new space. “I haven’t been over yet. I am waiting for the grand opening so I can walk in and see the full effect,” she said on Friday. “It’s a great move, because it allows them to focus specifically on the store and lets them do what they have wanted to do, which is provide this wonderful secondhand bookstore for the community.”

For years, the Curtis Friends, as they are known colloquially, hosted an annual three-day book sale at the junior high school. When the group lost its rent-free warehouse storage, the volunteer board decided to open a year-round store. “We figured, if we have to pay rent for a warehouse, why not pay rent for a storefront,” said Burr, past president of the Friends.

It opened at 11 Pleasant St. in 2015 and expanded two years later. The new store is about the same size as the old store, but it’s better space, Kline said. In addition to having more visibility on Maine Street, the new store offers street-level access, better parking options and a more convenient drop-off location. Customers descended a small set of stairs to access the previous store.

The Curtis Friends have supported the library for nearly a half-century by providing money to buy books and equipment and to pay for programming and staff training, among other things. The nonprofit organization has about 700 members.

The organization and Doucett both declined to say how much money the Curtis Friends raise for the library each year, but Doucett said the financial support “was incredibly important to the success of the library, because they let us do the extras that make Curtis an amazing library.”

They earn their money one book at a time. Hardcovers cost $5, paperbacks $4. Children’s books are $1 for hardcover, 50 cents for paperbacks, and CDs cost $2. Twice-Told Tales also specializes in rare and valuable books, and is a member of the Maine Antiquarian Booksellers Association. It sells most of its rare books online to international book buyers.

All the books come from donations, amassed over 20 years. Longtime volunteer Scott Johnson, who oversees the online sales, said Twice-Told Tales benefits from living in a community that values education. “We’ve got an extremely generous community and a literate community and a community that reads really good books,” he said.

A volunteer carries a pile of books while populating the shelves of Twice-Told Tales bookstore’s new location on Maine Street in Brunswick. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

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