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.
  • If you’re a Maryland health care professional, connect with colleagues through reading and discussion with Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care.
  • 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 2020 is “Historical Fiction” and the Maryland Center for the Book’s pick is Sujata Massey’s The Widows of Malabar Hill.

The Widows of Malabar Hill takes place in 1920s India where Perveen Mistry, Bombay’s first female lawyer, is investigating a suspicious will on behalf of three Muslim widows living in full purdah when the case takes a turn toward the murderous. 

Book cover of Sujata Massey's The Widows of Malabar Hill 

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 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 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
  • “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
  • “This was the first time I felt comfortable admitting that I was a female Viet Nam vet!”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • “This program is a gift, literally and figuratively!”

    One Maryland One Book 2015 teacher
  • “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
  • “The discussion of the [2015 One Maryland One] book could not have been better. Everyone had a particular part of the story that touched them. One of the newcomers was an experienced rower and gave us wonderful insight into the physical and spiritual aspects of the sport. It is the first time in my ten years with this group that everyone loved the book.”

    One Maryland One Book 2015 participant
  • “I distributed copies of the book and we engaged in an afterschool discussion which included students and staff. Everyone who participated was so engaged that our 45 minute planned discussion ended up stretching into an hour and a half!”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • “[Participation in the program] continues to remind that as humans, we are diverse and handle situations in accordance with who we are as individuals. Being so reminded fosters patience and empathy in dealing with everyone I come in contact with.”

    ​Literature & Medicine participant
  • “I completed the book club with 22 students, all of them on the JV football team – so not your stereotypical group of book club attendees. On the last day of our book club experience I asked students for some feedback and also asked if they would be interested in participating in another book club. Nearly all of them said that this was the first time they had ever participated in a book club, and a few said it was the first time they had actually read an entire book. I keep hearing back from them, too, [asking] ‘When is the next book club starting up?’. The discussions we had were powerful and meaningful–this was truly one of the most moving experiences I have had as an educator.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 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
  • “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
  • “Besides giving my students a relaxed writing situation with a non-threatening prompt (a personal letter, after all), your program challenges students to think ‘outside the box.'”

    ​Letters About Literature teacher
  • “During a vascular conference a patient with an extensive medical history was being discussed. The surgeons were going over multiple surgical possibilities for the patient. I spoke up and suggested pallative care. They admitted it wasn’t a bad idea. Nothing they were discussing was going to provide any long term benefit. I am not sure I would have thought of pallitive care, let alone, speak up to a group of surgeons without having been in Literature in Medicine.”

    ​Literature & Medicine participant
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Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their 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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