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.
  • Tell your favorite author how his or her book influenced your worldview. If you’re a student in grades 4-12, enter the national Letters About Literature contest.
  • 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 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
  • “The topic, readings and discussions have encouraged me to consider other ways of interacting with patients and families in the context of culture, lifestyle and economics.”

    ​Literature & Medicine 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
  • “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
  • “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 program has definitely helped me refocus on caring for patients versus helping physicians treat their diseases.”

    ​Literature & Medicine participant
  • “Very interesting program. I had not heard of or read any of the stories; I would like to read them now.”

    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
  • “[I enjoyed] listening to the personal experiences of the panelists as they honestly confronted the universal problems of the 21st century.”

    Pulitzer Panel attendee
  • “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
  • “This program is a gift, literally and figuratively!”

    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
  • “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
  • “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
  • “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
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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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