Maryland Center for the Book

Celebrating books, reading, libraries, Maryland writers, and our state’s literary heritage

The Maryland Center for the Book (MCFB), an affiliate of the national Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, develops and supports literary programs and outreach activities that engage citizens across Maryland in literature and reading. As a program of Maryland Humanities, MCFB highlights our region’s literary heritage and calls attention to the importance of books, reading, literacy and libraries.

Join the Maryland Center for the Book and our network of partners to:

  • Find a good book to read and discuss with others. Join the conversation around One Maryland One Book.
  • Celebrate books with thousands of other book lovers. Join MCFB at state and national book festivals.
  • Follow in the footsteps of Baltimore’s literary luminaries with our Literary Mount Vernon Walking Tour.
  • Connect with our community on Facebook! Find us at Maryland Center for the Book.
  • Watch or attend unique literary events, from book festivals to special presentations. Have you seen the Library of Congress (LOC) and American Library Association’s “Books & Stories to Strengthen Families” symposium? Maryland Center for the Book was a supporting sponsor! Catch up by watching the full webcast.

One of 52 state affiliates of the Library of Congress Center for the Book, MCFB is a program of Maryland Humanities, with satellites at Talbot County Free Library and Washington County Free Library.

Ready for a literary road trip? Check out Route One Reads!

Route One Reads logoRoute One Reads is a special partnership connecting the East Coast Centers for the Book from Maine all the way to Florida. Following an annual theme, each Center for the Book selects a book to represent its state on our collective reading list. The theme for 2022 is “Literary Fiction” and the Maryland Center for the Book’s pick is Jessica Anya Blau’s Mary Jane.

Mary Jane takes place in 1970s Baltimore, where fourteen-year-old Mary Jane loves cooking with her mother and singing in her church choir. Shy, quiet, and bookish, she’s glad when she lands a summer job as a nanny for the daughter of a local doctor. book cover of the novel Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau

Over the course of the summer, Mary Jane has a front-row seat to a liberal world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Caught between the lifestyle she’s always known and the future she’s only just realized is possible, Mary Jane will arrive at September with a new idea about what she wants out of life, and what kind of person she’s going to be.

Visit the Route One Reads website to see how you can travel 2,369 miles and explore 15 states plus DC, all from the comfort of your favorite reading nook!

2020 ROUTE ONE READS READING LIST

  • “I am far more aware of making sure my patients and their families have true informed consent. A misunderstanding of consent can have a huge negative impact on several generations. I never would have realized this without Literature & Medicine.”

    ​Literature & Medicine participant
  • “This contest gives [students] a chance to practice [letter writing] while also expressing themselves about a work of literature or a particular author that has made an impact on them personally. As a teacher, I benefit from reading the letters because I always learn new things about each student.”

    ​Letters About Literature teacher
  • “My students have been removed from their home schools. Right away, they made comments about the diction of the text, how it seemed realistic to them and they pointed out words they would have changed. We talked about word choice, slang, etc. I had 2 instances where students were excited to see me because they had events similar to the book happen to them and they needed to tell someone. They want to know how to change things. […] These kids typically failed English class or were chronic non-attenders or were removed before they came here. They are excited about reading a book! Teacher librarian win!”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • “The OMOB 2014 selection seemed to touch the hearts of so many teachers and students. Everyone who read the story was in awe of the struggles, the will to survive, and then the motivation to write the memoir. The Distance Between Us created such an impact on each reader that s/he handed the book to someone with the request, “you must read this story!” Plus, the selection was inter-disciplinary and ‘captured’ students in all grade and academic levels. Renya Grande captivated the readers who, “couldn’t put the book down.” It is one of the best selections. Thank you!!”

    ​One Maryland One Book 2014 teacher
  • “The book selections offer an opportunity to read a book that is informative and engaging. It enhances our view of the world and the individuals within it. We sincerely look forward to the OMOB selections and materials each year. It is a topic of excitement and discussion among students and staff. Truly and wonderfully.”

    ​One Maryland One Book teacher
  • “[This panel provided] interesting insights into areas of our community that I don’t get by direct observation.”

    Pulitzer Panel attendee
  • “I work in billing. I think the program has helped me to see that people come from all walks of life and the responses they have to problems with all aspects of health care are influenced by that. I am more willing to listen to them.”

    ​Literature & Medicine participant
  • “I want to thank you for opening the door to writing about reading… By providing students with the opportunity to write about a genre and a book that is of interest, they are more willing to open up, get personal, and write to their full potential. It is amazing what children are able to produce when they enjoy the task at hand.”

    ​Letters About Literature teacher
  • “A sophomore on our school’s state-champ runner-up varsity football team was so taken by Joe’s story of the sophomore year on the boat that he got his dad (the coach) and several members of his team to read the book even though they weren’t assigned it in class. Another student described a discussion she got into with her math teacher after school about the relevance of the English curriculum and used her experience with Brown’s work and the field trip to convince her teacher that humanities are just as important as STEM. Great stuff!”

    ​One Maryland One Book 2015 teacher
  • “Very interesting program. I had not heard of or read any of the stories; I would like to read them now.”

    Pulitzer Panel attendee
  • “Over the past few years, I have noticed a decline in the number of students who read for pleasure. This type of contest certainly fosters that love of reading.”

    ​Letters About Literature teacher
  • “In a test-driven educational system, we can sometimes lose sight of what is important. Allowing students time to read and discuss literature can never be underestimated. I appreciate that Letters About Literature recognizes, promotes, and fosters the importance of literature by getting students to write to authors. This contest gives students the opportunity to really think about how a piece has impacted them. I know that the authors don’t necessarily read the letters addressed to them through the contest, but my students have often sent an additional copy of their letter to the author. The euphoria and excitement that comes over the kids who are lucky enough to have the author respond is heart-warming. Just this past year, a student of mine received a personal letter, an autographed book, and other items of appreciation from the author he wrote to.”

    ​Letters About Literature teacher
  • “The school I am reporting on is designed as an alternative center for students who are not successful in the “regular” classrooms in our district. These students are challenged by a number of factors, including emotional problems, discipline issues, etc. This particular book was one that a number of students were able to relate to and engage with. As a consequence, students who do not normally read became active participants in both reading and discussing!”

    One Maryland One Book 2015 teacher
  • “This was the first time I felt comfortable admitting that I was a female Viet Nam vet!”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • “I enjoyed that this program directly related to key issues within our community […] I think this lecture could go on for hours; it’s fabulous!”

    Pulitzer Panel attendee
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Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports bold experiences that explore and elevate our shared stories to connect people, enhance lives, and enrich communities.
Maryland Humanities
108 West Centre Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-4565
(410) 685-0095
(410) 685-0795 fax
info@mdhumanities.org
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