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Washington County library named Western Md. affiliate of Center for the Book

October 29, 2007

Washington County Free Library announced that it has been chosen as the Western Maryland affiliate for the Maryland Humanities Council Center for the Book Program.

The purpose of the Maryland Center for the Book is to develop and support programs that promote books, reading, libraries, Maryland writers and the state's literary heritage. With satellites at Talbot County Free Library and Washington County Free Library, the Maryland Center is one of 50 state affiliates of the Library of Congress Center for the Book.

Established in 1977, the Center for the Book draws on the resources and the prestige of the Library of Congress in its efforts to promote books, reading, libraries and literacy. The library provides a focal point for celebrating the legacy of books and the printed word.

While working closely with other organizations to advance the understanding of the vital role books, reading, libraries and literacy play in society, the Center for the Book serves as an advocate, a catalyst and a source of ideas - nationally and internationally.

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The role of the center has expanded significantly since 1984 with the establishment of affiliated centers for the book in 50 states and the District of Columbia, a reading promotion partners program that includes more than 80 national civic and educational organizations, and a broad network of national and international organizations and programs that promote books, reading, and libraries - including several centers for the study of the history of the book located in academic or research organizations.

As it continues to evolve, the MCFB plans to develop a broad menu of literary programs and outreach activities that involve a wide range of statewide partnerships.

The center offers a variety of programs spotlighting reading and literacy promotion, the role of books and reading in today's society and celebrating America's literary heritage.

Programs available through the center include:

· Poetry's Here @ Your Library, a program that brings poets and poetry to Maryland public libraries

· Letter About Literature, a national essay program for students in grades four through 12

· Reading/discussion on critical issues and themes, such as literature and medicine

· The Humanities at the Heart of Health Care program

· Poet Laureate's Corner programs across the state with Maryland's poet laureate, Michael Glaser

· Speakers Bureau programs on literature and poetry, as well as living-history presentations by figures such as Walt Whitman and Edgar Allan Poe

· Baltimore Book Festival and National Book Festival activities.

The center also offers grants for literary activities to Maryland organizations.

The Washington County Free Library, in cooperation with the Maryland Humanities Council, has provided programs on early music in Maryland and Clara Barton, and hosted a visit from the poet laureate of Maryland.

Jean Wortman, program officer with the Maryland Humanities Council and The Maryland Center for the Book, will be the keynote speaker at the annual "Spouses Luncheon" meeting of the Hagerstown Rotary on Nov. 7 at the Four Points Sheraton in Hagerstown.

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