With hundreds in attendance, including legislators, writers, librarians and the book community, Massachusetts Center for the Book presented the 2019 Library of Congress/Massachusetts Literacy Award and the Massachusetts Book Awards on Sept. 17 at a State House ceremony.

Rep. Paul McMurtry, chairperson of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, and Rep. Natalie Higgins, House co-chair of the Library Caucus, provided the legislative welcome.

The Massachusetts Book Awards presentations commenced with Sharon Shaloo, MCB executive director and a resident of Arlington, reminding the audience that this is the largest state book awards program in the country.

“It’s a testament to the vitality of the contemporary writing community in our commonwealth,” she stated.

Rep. David Rogers presented citations to his constituent Fred Marchant, of Arlington, as well as on behalf of Sen. Cindy Friedman. Marchant received Honors in Poetry in the 18th annual Massachusetts Book Awards for “Said Not Said,” a “volume of autobiographical intention” and “skillful and generous poetry.”

The 2019 Massachusetts Literacy Award was given to Beacon Press in recognition of its history of ethical publishing that “elevates and actuates the promise of a literate populace.” Helene Atwan, director of Beacon Press, accepted the award and underscored the publisher’s commitment to promote dialogue around social justice and issues of diversity. The Library of Congress State Literacy Award program is funded through the generous support of David M. Rubenstein, co-founder of The Carlyle Group and a major benefactor of our nation’s library.

The Massachusetts Center for the Book, chartered as the Commonwealth Affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is a public-private partnership charged with developing, supporting and promoting cultural programming that advances the cause of books and reading and enhances the outreach potential of Massachusetts public libraries. For more information about the Library of Congress Literacy Award or the Massachusetts Book Awards, contact info@massbook.org or visit http://massbook.org.