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

Aug 22 2013

Wed 9/18 – Book Talk: Set in DC

The Humanities Council of Washington, DC and a small panel of local authors will discuss the use of Washington, DC’s vibrant neighborhoods as a setting for works of (…)

Jun 18 2013

African American Experience in Post-Civil War Washington

Saturday, June 29, 2013 African American Experience in Post-Civil War Washington 2:30 – 4:00 PM Historical Society of Washington, D.C. 801 K Street N.W., Washington D.C. 20001 (…)

May 23 2013

June 15th – SAVE THE DATE, next mapathon at MLK Library

June 15th is the Read-In at DC Public Library, where all 26 library locations in the city have a program.  We’re hosting a DC By the Book (…)

May 23 2013

DCBTB at Adult Summer Reading Kick-Off Festival

On Saturday, June 1, stop by our table at the Adult Summer Reading Kick-Off Festival at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library (901 G St. NW), (…)

May 14 2013

May 26, An Afternoon with Author Breena Clarke @ the Anacostia Community Museum, 2-4pm

Author Breena Clarke will perform two readings from her novels River, Cross My Heart and Stand the Storm, her latest novel which explores the constant struggle and (…)

May 14 2013

May 15, Map-a-thon with DC Library Assocation, all are welcome

Join DC By the Book Co-Directors Tony Ross and Kim Zablud for a special DCLA “Mapathon” and help bring this new project to life! Project Background: Launched in March 2013, DC (…)

Mar 26 2013

April 18 — THE IMPEACHMENT OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Join us at the Georgetown Neighborhood Library at 7:30pm, Thursday April 18th to discuss Stephen L. Carter’s novel The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln. This book imagines that Lincoln was not (…)

Mar 26 2013

DC Book Discussion — RIVER, CROSS MY HEART

Join us at the Southwest Neighborhood Library at 1pm, Saturday March 30th to discuss Breena Clarke’s novel River, Cross My Heart. This book is set in Georgetown (…)

Mar 25 2013

LAUNCH PARTY – 6 to 8pm on 3/27

Join us for the kickoff of DC By the Book on March 27, 6-8pm at Busboys and Poets, 5th & K streets NW. The event will feature: (…)

Mar 25 2013

Looking Forward – Event with Author Breena Clarke

Breena Clarke, author of River Cross My Heart, will speak at the Anacostia Community Museum on Sunday, May 26 from 2pm to 4 pm. Cultural Tourism DC is coordinating participation (…)

Aug 22 2013

Wed 9/18 – Book Talk: Set in DC

The Humanities Council of Washington, DC and a small panel of local authors will discuss the use of Washington, (…)

Jun 18 2013

African American Experience in Post-Civil War Washington

Saturday, June 29, 2013 African American Experience in Post-Civil War Washington 2:30 – 4:00 PM Historical Society of (…)

May 23 2013

June 15th – SAVE THE DATE, next mapathon at MLK Library

June 15th is the Read-In at DC Public Library, where all 26 library locations in the city have (…)

May 23 2013

DCBTB at Adult Summer Reading Kick-Off Festival

On Saturday, June 1, stop by our table at the Adult Summer Reading Kick-Off Festival at the Martin (…)

May 14 2013

May 26, An Afternoon with Author Breena Clarke @ the Anacostia Community Museum, 2-4pm

Author Breena Clarke will perform two readings from her novels River, Cross My Heart and Stand the Storm, (…)

May 14 2013

May 15, Map-a-thon with DC Library Assocation, all are welcome

Join DC By the Book Co-Directors Tony Ross and Kim Zablud for a special DCLA “Mapathon” and help bring this new (…)

Mar 26 2013

April 18 — THE IMPEACHMENT OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Join us at the Georgetown Neighborhood Library at 7:30pm, Thursday April 18th to discuss Stephen L. Carter’s novel The Impeachment of (…)

Mar 26 2013

DC Book Discussion — RIVER, CROSS MY HEART

Join us at the Southwest Neighborhood Library at 1pm, Saturday March 30th to discuss Breena Clarke’s novel River, (…)

Mar 25 2013

LAUNCH PARTY – 6 to 8pm on 3/27

Join us for the kickoff of DC By the Book on March 27, 6-8pm at Busboys and Poets, (…)

Mar 25 2013

Looking Forward – Event with Author Breena Clarke

Breena Clarke, author of River Cross My Heart, will speak at the Anacostia Community Museum on Sunday, May 26 from (…)

Aug 22 2013

Wed 9/18 – Book Talk: Set in DC

The Humanities Council of Washington, DC and a (…)

Jun 18 2013

African American Experience in Post-Civil War Washington

Saturday, June 29, 2013 African American Experience in (…)

May 23 2013

June 15th – SAVE THE DATE, next mapathon at MLK Library

June 15th is the Read-In at DC Public (…)

May 23 2013

DCBTB at Adult Summer Reading Kick-Off Festival

On Saturday, June 1, stop by our table (…)

May 14 2013

May 26, An Afternoon with Author Breena Clarke @ the Anacostia Community Museum, 2-4pm

Author Breena Clarke will perform two readings from (…)

May 14 2013

May 15, Map-a-thon with DC Library Assocation, all are welcome

Join DC By the Book Co-Directors Tony Ross and Kim (…)

Mar 26 2013

April 18 — THE IMPEACHMENT OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Join us at the Georgetown Neighborhood Library at 7:30pm, Thursday (…)

Mar 26 2013

DC Book Discussion — RIVER, CROSS MY HEART

Join us at the Southwest Neighborhood Library at (…)

Mar 25 2013

LAUNCH PARTY – 6 to 8pm on 3/27

Join us for the kickoff of DC By (…)

Mar 25 2013

Looking Forward – Event with Author Breena Clarke

Breena Clarke, author of River Cross My Heart, will speak (…)

Aug 22 2013

Wed 9/18 – Book Talk: Set in DC

The Humanities Council of (…)

Jun 18 2013
May 23 2013
Mar 26 2013

April 18 — THE IMPEACHMENT OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Join us at the Georgetown (…)

Mar 26 2013
Mar 25 2013

LAUNCH PARTY – 6 to 8pm on 3/27

Join us for the (…)

Mar 25 2013

Looking Forward – Event with Author Breena Clarke

Breena Clarke, author of River (…)