The Maryland Humanities Council and St. Mary’s County Library Partner to Offer Reading and Discussion Program for Veterans

December 22, 2014

The Maryland Humanities Council (MHC) and the St. Mary’s County Library will partner to offer a free reading and discussion program for service members of all eras. The reading and discussion group will run from February to June 2015.

The program is part of a National Endowment for the Humanities initiative Standing Together: Humanities and the Experience of War, created to promote understanding of the military experience and to support returning veterans.  The Maine Humanities Council and eleven other state humanities councils across the country will also participate in this initiative. The Maryland Humanities Council is also planning reading and discussion programs in Baltimore and Harford Counties, to be announced soon.

“The humanities—literature, poetry, history, and ethics—offer participants powerful tools to reflect on and share experiences, deepen understanding, and to connect with those around them,” remarks MHC Executive Director Phoebe Stein.

The Veterans Book Group is a facilitated small-group reading and discussion series designed in collaboration with veterans. The humanities can play an impactful role in articulating the unique issues and concerns veterans face. Reading and discussion can foster connections, reduce feelings of isolation, and provide a safe context in which to explore issues regarding military service. Participants will gather on the first Saturday of each month 11:30am to 1:30pm from February to June at the Charlotte Hall Library, located at 37600 New Market Road in Charlotte Hall. Lunch will be generously provided by Mission BBQ.

Kathleen Reif, Deputy Director of St. Mary’s County Library, notes, “St. Mary’s County Library is honored to partner with the Maryland Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide this very meaningful experience for our veterans.  It is especially appropriate that this series will be held at the Charlotte Hall Library since our neighbor is the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, the only veterans’ home in the State of Maryland.  It is our hope that this pilot project will become a regular service for our community of veterans.”

The group will be facilitated by Vietnam veteran, author, and College of Southern Maryland Professor, Wayne Karlin. Readings include those from classics,  poetry and memoir, short stories, works by writers such as Phil Klay, Homer, Ernest Hemingway, le thi diem thuy, and Ambrose Bierce.  Discussions are organized into five segments:  the need to tell the story, telling the story, the journey of the hero, home front, and homecomings.

Registration is limited to 15 participants.  The deadline to register is January 24, 2015. Interested veterans should contact Alesha Verdict at (301) 884-2211 x1005 or email

Maryland Humanities Council Veterans Programs
The Maryland Humanities Council, in partnership with veterans’ service organizations across the state, will present a series of programs for military veterans, their families, and the public at large that focus on using the humanities to explore the history, experience, or meaning of war and military service.  In November, MHC presented an evening of readings by veterans about military service followed by discussion at the University of Baltimore in partnership with the Bob Parsons Veterans Center and Spotlight UB. To learn more, visit


Press Release