BRUNSWICK — Pam Goucher said she was immediately taken back to her childhood when she walked up the stairs of the Curtis Memorial Library.

Goucher and Nancy Egan saw the large illustration of “Mister Dog” and walked farther and saw “Home for a Bunny.”

The images are part of a new exhibit at the library featuring pieces by Garth Williams, one of the most famous illustrators of the 20th century.

The “Garth Williams: Illustrator of the Century” exhibit, consisting of more than 90 original illustrations, sketches and drawings on loan from the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature in Abilene, Texas. It runs through July 31.

Williams, who died in 1996, created images found in the Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House” books published in the 1950s, and in classic children’s books like “Charlotte’s Web” and “Stuart Little,” by E.B. White.

He also created the titular character for “The Sailor Dog” and in his nearly 50-year career, Williams illustrated more than 80 books.

“You have to have the illustrations, and the words have a lot more meaning with illustrations to go with them,” said Goucher, a former school librarian.

Throughout the library’s second floor, original artwork from 28 of Williams’ most beloved books captivated more than 100 people who attended the exhibit’s opening Tuesday morning, including Thom McGann.

McGann, 67, of Brunswick, said he has three grandchildren that are coming to visit in early July and one of the first places he plans to bring them is to see this exhibit.

“I remember reading these books to my kids and our grandchildren, and it’ll be really special to have them viewing the original artwork,” McGann said. “I definitely reminds me of days gone by, and they’re great memories.”

Williams’ works in framed displays around the library are done in carbon pencil, charcoal pencil, graphite, gouache, pen and ink, and watercolor on Bristol board, illustration board and paper. Partial funding for the exhibit comes from a grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation.

Margy Soule, the librarian at Coffin School in Brunswick, said she’s excited to view the exhibit and talk about it with her students. While the students probably won’t recognize the name Garth Williams, she said they all know his work.

“So many people over the decades have been reading aloud those classics, and I know the lucky children who’ve been exposed to these books have it as part of their hearts,” Soule said. “His works have such emotional appeal, and you don’t have to be an art connoisseur to be immediately pulled into the stories.”

Before the exhibit officially opened, Curtis  director Liz Doucett held up her copy of “Charlotte’s Web” that she estimated was more than 50 years old, and she talked about what Williams’ drawings meant to her.

“This was the first chapter book I ever read with my mother, and I loved it so much that when I was done, I turned to her and told her I needed another one just like it,” Doucett said.

Her mom signed her up for a reading club where Doucett received books each week in the mail.

The first book to arrive was another one illustrated by Williams: “A Cricket in Times Square.”

Doucett said she gets emotional talking about that book, which she called her all-time favorite.

“It was the book that hooked me on reading,” she said.

The exhibit is presented in partnership with the Illustration Institute of Portland/Peaks Island, and Scott Nash, who helps run the institute, spoke to the audience about his career as an illustrator and why Williams is so highly-regarded.

Nash said the exhibit is near-and-dear to him, and he called Williams one of the greatest illustrators of our time. He said Williams read each manuscript very carefully and crafted the characters and scenes he depicted to fit the narrative of the book.

“He was hard-working and incredibly prolific and supremely talented,” Nash said, “and largely unknown.”

One of the hopes of the institute and the exhibit is to make people aware of the famous illustrators whose work captured the imaginations of the millions of people who’ve read the stories and seen the artwork.

“Chapter books that get to illustrations are so important to the development of kids’ lives,” Nash said.

Maine author and illustrator Melissa Sweet, author of “Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White” will give a free talk in conjunction with the exhibit at the library at 6 p.m. May 24. She’ll be joined by Martha White, granddaughter of E.B. White.