The Massachusetts Center for the Book, a nonprofit organization, is the state affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Its mission is to promote books and reading in the Commonwealth: expanding the circle of readers, deepening appreciation for literature and book arts as vital parts of the state’s cultural heritage and its economy, and emphasizing the central role that libraries play in civic and cultural life. Mass Humanities supports the Center through an annual financial contribution, and a member of the Mass Humanities staff sits on the Center’s Board of Directors.
The Center maintains an office at Simmons College. It sponsors the annual Massachusetts Book Awards, presented in the fall, which recognize significant achievements in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s literature, and serves as the state coordinating organization for Letters About Literature, a national competition in which students in Grades 4 through 12 write letters to authors whose work has made a difference in their lives. Another major project is the Literary Map of Massachusetts, a guide to sites associated with the state’s literary heritage. A second edition of the print version is being developed.