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.
  • 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 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
  • “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
  • “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
  • “One student in my book club who is in a wheelchair and has a lot of other persona/home issues, was the first to finish the book, and wheeled herself into the library more than once to ask me if I had finished the book because she wanted to talk about it. She was a huge contributor to the discussion.”

    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
  • “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
  • “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
  • “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 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
  • “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 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
  • “One student who has been held back several years and suffers from emotional disorders spent several minutes asking One Maryland One Book [author Daniel James Brown] questions. He very patiently listened and answered each question. He then signed her book: ‘Write with your heart not your head.’ To watch this interaction was very touching.”

    One Maryland One Book 2015 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
  • “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
  • “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
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