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Turning the page: Twice-Told Tales travels to Maine Street

October 18, 2019

Angel Ramirez
A NEW TALE: Volunteer-run used book shop Twice-Told Tales makes a move to Maine Street. Volunteers hope the new location willl foster a stronger connection with both the Brunswick and Bowdoin communites.

After roughly four years on Pleasant Street, Twice-Told Tales is turning the corner. The used book store is making its highly anticipated move from the current location on Pleasant Street to Maine Street.

Twice-Told Tales is a volunteer-run used book store that serves as a part of the Friends of the Curtis Memorial Library Program, a due-based organization that raises funds for the local library by selling donated books that are in good condition.

Following the success of their annual book sales, Twice-Told Tales took the mission a step forward and became a perma-nent bookshop in the summer of 2015. The Pleasant Street location, however, presented various issues including a lack of pedestrian traffic, windows and handicap accessibility.

“There was a restaurant occupying the front of the building so you had to go down the hallway [and] down the stairs to get to us. [If] you knew we were there it was fine, but if you didn’t know we were there, you’d never know,” said Barbara Burr, the current volunteer coordinator of Twice-Told Tales.

Although obtaining this new space on Maine Street was relatively expensive, volunteers hope that the location will pay for itself through its connection to the Brunswick community, visibility from the sidewalk and accessibility for visitors—especially from Bowdoin.

“We think there’s a lot of kinds of books that we get that will be of interest both to faculty and students who will find this [location] much more easily [accessible],” said Katy Kline, public relations and storefront arrangement volunteer for Twice-Told Tales.

The shop is run by about 40 volunteers, allowing all profits from book sales to feed directly into donations for the Curtis Memorial Library. The volunteer staff is composed entirely of retirees, most of whom are former educators, librarians and book connoisseurs.

“They all love books,” Burr said. “People will come in the store, and [the volunteers] are looking for something they love to be able to try to recommend [other books].”

The community also played a large role in the success of the move. Though the Pleasant Street shop officially closed for business on September 28, the physical moving of items to Maine Street was done with the help of Bowdoin students dur-ing Common Good Day. Additional help from the local community consisted of a 600-box donation from the Home Depot and flooring materials and installation from Lowe’s Home Improvement store. Lowe’s also supplied two teams of workers as part of their community service program, Burr said.

“We reached out and told them who we were and what we do, and they just said, ‘you know you’re a nonprofit, and we have a grant program for nonprofits, and you [fit] the bill,’ and we won the grant,” Burr said.

The volunteers at Twice-Told Tales hoped to open last Saturday, October 12, but were unable to do so because of a struc-tural complication. Heavy equipment and other materials housed on the second floor of the shop’s new building created a potential safety hazard for customers.

“[The upper area] is the oldest part of the building, and [the] structural engineer said the weight of all the books upstairs could come crashing down,” said Burr.

The goal is to resolve the problem within the next few weeks so the store can finally open for business, although the amount of time needed to fix the problem is unknown. The volunteers have embraced the humor of the situation through posted paper signs on the windows: “Coming soon in 11 days! Or so…”


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