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

  • “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
  • “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
  • “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
  • “My participation continuance with the program comes from the great cohesiveness of our group… even when new people join… everyone’s ideas and work philosophies teach me something new about how to handle my work and my own life.”

    ​Literature & Medicine participant
  • “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
  • “For the second year, my students are demonstrating an enthusiasm and effort that surpasses what they usually display. I know this is due to the wonderful opportunity you provide – a chance to write to their favorite author. Authentic communication truly inspires my students! … I am confident that this will become a significant memory in my students’ sixth grade experience. How wonderful that it should promote the beauty and the strength of the written word.”

    Letters About Literature teacher
  • “This program is a gift, literally and figuratively!”

    One Maryland One Book 2015 teacher
  • “The program has definitely helped me refocus on caring for patients versus helping physicians treat their diseases.”

    ​Literature & Medicine participant
  • “One of my students, a boy who works 35 hours a week at McDonalds, took the time to write me a letter stating the book had changed his life.”

    ​One Maryland One Book 2015 teacher
  • “The impact of this particular book was probably stronger than any other Maryland One Book due to the connections we could make with real world events and police brutality in the headlines. Many groups were reading and discussing the book at our school: Student Equity Team, Drama Club, Faculty book club, sociology and English classes. It fostered important discussions about race relations.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • “[The Walking Tour] was a delight: loved the audience-participation with the quotations; great history and anecdotes from the guides; they were excellent at asking provocative questions of the participants, eliciting thought and engagement; good pace, even for someone slow walking.”

    ​Literary Walking Tour Participant
  • “Being a part of the group provided me with a safe area to revisit my thoughts and feelings on my experience during the war.”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • “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
  • “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
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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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