About

About

DC By the Book is the brainchild of Tony Ross and Kim Zablud of DC Public Library. The project explores the richness of non-Federal civic life in Washington and its character as a city, as brought to life by fiction. The project goal is to highlight and crowd-source passages from the (largely undiscovered) rich body of literature set in DC that illuminate its social and geographic history.

This is a collaborative effort between librarians, experts in local fiction, local history organizations, and anyone who comes to the site. The project is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Studies’ Library Services and Technology Act grant program, which allowed work to start in Fall 2012. The project is based in DC Public Library’s Washingtoniana Special Collection and curated by its staff. The website was designed and built by Beekeeper Group.

 

FAQ

Do you have an app?
Yes! In Year 2, IMLS and the DCPL Foundation supported creation of an app.  Download it for iPhone or Android now. Launched in April 2014, each tour features a route of sites that have been depicted in fiction and is accompanied by a map for easy navigation. Some stops also include photographs, audio and historical information to enhance the user’s experience. Check back often as we continue to add new tours. Also note that the site was created using responsive design techniques, so it should be fully functional on any smartphone.

Why isn’t nonfiction included?
Trying to map nonfiction about the city would be akin to mapping the entire history of the city. For example, if we were to take the AIA Guide to Washington and try to map it, we would end up cutting and pasting the entire book (and violating copyright law). Another example is U Street: A Biography by Blair Ruble. It’s an entire book covering one small stretch of the city, and we’d have hundreds of map points within a tiny area. As the project progresses, we may look at how to include different types of content (such as poetry or nonfiction), but right now we’re keeping the focus on fiction.

Why aren’t children’s books included?
These may be incorporated as the project proceeds, but we wanted to keep it focused on books for adult readers for now. We may create a kid-friendly version of this site to highlight all the children’s books set in DC.

Why doesn’t the map extend to the suburbs?
Although Washington is very much a metropolitan region, in order to keep the project focused, the map points are limited to the city’s current boundaries. Although from 1791 to 1847,the city extended across the river into present-day Alexandria and Arlington County, we decided it would be too confusing to include that territory. If there is sufficient demand to include former city boundaries, we will revisit that decision at a later date.

Why hasn’t my submission appeared on the map?
Every entry has to be verified by project staff before it can go live, in order to ensure accuracy, check spelling, verify location, and add any missing information or links. This generally takes 24-48 hours, but might take a little longer in some cases depending on the complexity of the entry.

Does DC Public Library have copies every work of fiction set in Washington, D.C.?
No. We do have a large number, both in our circulating and reference collections, but there are some titles that are older or hard-to-find that we don’t have yet. You can view a list of the ones we don’t have here.

Can I donate copies to the library of books you don’t have?
Yes, but please email us at info@dcbythebook.com to coordinate.

I’m an author with a book set in Washington, DC — can my book be included?
Probably, but please email us at info@dcbythebook.org with information about your book.

Who is on the project team?
Tony Ross and Kim Zablud (Co-Directors); Beekeeper Group (Technology Partner); Cultural Tourism DC, Historical Society of Washington DC, Humanities Council of Washington DC and George Washington University Special Collections (Local History Partners); Kelly Navies and Michele Casto (Content Curators); Busboys & Poets and the DCPL Foundation (Project Launch Sponsors); plus anyone and everyone who submits content and helps map books.

Latest News

Oct 9 2014

FEW SPOTS LEFT – 10/11/14 Books of the Harlem Renaissance Walking Tour

Join the Humanities Council, DC By the Book, and the DC Public Library on October 11, 10a.m. to noon, for a free literary walking tour! Participants will meet (…)

Sep 15 2014

We’ll be at WalkingTown DC this week!

We’re all set for four great DCBTB tours as part of WalkingTown DC.  The schedule is: Monday, 9/15, noon – Downtown Fiction, meet outside MLK library [SOLD (…)

Aug 7 2014

8/7 @ 6pm – Mobile App Critique and Feedback Session

Join us for a critique and feedback session of the DC By the Book Tours app!  We’re at a key moment in the grant cycle, with several (…)

Jul 27 2014

We’ll be at HATFest on Saturday, August 2nd!

We’re excited to be part of the Humanities, Arts & Technology Festival (HATFest) at St. Elizabeths East Pavilion on Saturday, August 4th, located at 1100 Alabama Avenue, SW.  (…)

Jun 25 2014

Sat June 28 – Photo Walk Tour of Mount Vernon Square

Saturday, June 28 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM Carnegie Library Building 801 K Street NW Washington, DC 20001 202-249-3958 On this walking tour, we will shoot images (…)

May 27 2014

Saturday’s Tour covered by The Examiner

Thanks to Marsha Dubrow, DC Arts Travel Columnist for The Examiner, for her coverage of Saturday’s walking tour: Harlem Renaissance had deep roots in Washington, D.C a (…)

May 19 2014

Download the new ‘DC By the Book Tours’ app!

The app is live and Foggy Bottom and U Street/Howard tours are available.  Download it for iPhone or Android now. Each tour features a route of sites (…)

May 19 2014

Communicator 2014 Award of Distinction for DC By the Book

DC By the Book received a Communicator 2014 Award of Distinction (category: websites – government).  Thank you to our technology firm Beekeeper Group for shepherding the process. (…)

May 12 2014

May 24 @ 10am – Literary Walking Tour: Books of the Harlem Renaissance

NOW SOLD OUT – ENCORE TO BE SCHEDULED SOON Join local literary historian Kim Roberts for a 90-minute walking tour exploring the U Street neighborhood from the (…)

Apr 21 2014

(Sat April 26 @ 11am) Capturing Watergate: Author talk with Thomas Mallon and debut of new fiction walking tour app

Capturing Watergate: Author talk with Thomas Mallon and debut of new fiction walking tour app Saturday April 26, 11am Gelman Library on GW Campus, 2130 H St. (…)

Oct 9 2014

FEW SPOTS LEFT – 10/11/14 Books of the Harlem Renaissance Walking Tour

Join the Humanities Council, DC By the Book, and the DC Public Library on October 11, 10a.m. to noon, (…)

Sep 15 2014

We’ll be at WalkingTown DC this week!

We’re all set for four great DCBTB tours as part of WalkingTown DC.  The schedule is: Monday, 9/15, (…)

Aug 7 2014

8/7 @ 6pm – Mobile App Critique and Feedback Session

Join us for a critique and feedback session of the DC By the Book Tours app!  We’re at (…)

Jul 27 2014

We’ll be at HATFest on Saturday, August 2nd!

We’re excited to be part of the Humanities, Arts & Technology Festival (HATFest) at St. Elizabeths East Pavilion (…)

Jun 25 2014

Sat June 28 – Photo Walk Tour of Mount Vernon Square

Saturday, June 28 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM Carnegie Library Building 801 K Street NW Washington, DC 20001 (…)

May 27 2014

Saturday’s Tour covered by The Examiner

Thanks to Marsha Dubrow, DC Arts Travel Columnist for The Examiner, for her coverage of Saturday’s walking tour: (…)

May 19 2014

Download the new ‘DC By the Book Tours’ app!

The app is live and Foggy Bottom and U Street/Howard tours are available.  Download it for iPhone or (…)

May 19 2014

Communicator 2014 Award of Distinction for DC By the Book

DC By the Book received a Communicator 2014 Award of Distinction (category: websites – government).  Thank you to (…)

May 12 2014

May 24 @ 10am – Literary Walking Tour: Books of the Harlem Renaissance

NOW SOLD OUT – ENCORE TO BE SCHEDULED SOON Join local literary historian Kim Roberts for a 90-minute (…)

Apr 21 2014

(Sat April 26 @ 11am) Capturing Watergate: Author talk with Thomas Mallon and debut of new fiction walking tour app

Capturing Watergate: Author talk with Thomas Mallon and debut of new fiction walking tour app Saturday April 26, (…)

Oct 9 2014

FEW SPOTS LEFT – 10/11/14 Books of the Harlem Renaissance Walking Tour

Join the Humanities Council, DC By the Book, and (…)

Sep 15 2014

We’ll be at WalkingTown DC this week!

We’re all set for four great DCBTB tours (…)

Aug 7 2014

8/7 @ 6pm – Mobile App Critique and Feedback Session

Join us for a critique and feedback session (…)

Jul 27 2014

We’ll be at HATFest on Saturday, August 2nd!

We’re excited to be part of the Humanities, (…)

Jun 25 2014

Sat June 28 – Photo Walk Tour of Mount Vernon Square

Saturday, June 28 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM (…)

May 27 2014

Saturday’s Tour covered by The Examiner

Thanks to Marsha Dubrow, DC Arts Travel Columnist (…)

May 19 2014

Download the new ‘DC By the Book Tours’ app!

The app is live and Foggy Bottom and (…)

May 19 2014

Communicator 2014 Award of Distinction for DC By the Book

DC By the Book received a Communicator 2014 (…)

May 12 2014

May 24 @ 10am – Literary Walking Tour: Books of the Harlem Renaissance

NOW SOLD OUT – ENCORE TO BE SCHEDULED (…)

Oct 9 2014
Sep 15 2014

We’ll be at WalkingTown DC this week!

We’re all set for (…)

Jul 27 2014
Jun 25 2014
May 27 2014

Saturday’s Tour covered by The Examiner

Thanks to Marsha Dubrow, (…)

May 19 2014