DC by the Book, a project launching March 27
, is a website with a custom map that allows anyoneto explore the landscape of Washington, DC as it has been represented in fiction. (See reverse forsample screenshot.) Developed by DC Public Library with assistance from a $20,000 LSTA grantand partnerships with the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., Cultural Tourism DC, theHumanities Council of Washington D.C., and public affairs firm Beekeeper Group, the project hasseveral aims:
Literally put Washington, DC on the map as a city with a life of its own beyond the Federalcity. Fiction has often illuminated the richness of
civic life and itscharacter as a city of neighborhoods. By highlighting passages that explore the social andgeographic history of the city
, DC By the Book aims to engage both residents andnon-residents with the city as most residents experience it.
Highlight works of fiction that provide context for the city and offer readers new ways of thinking about Washington (a goal perfectly in keeping with the historic role of libraries).Most people can name maybe a handful or writers who set their books in Washington; todate, the project team has identified approximately 1,000 works of fiction set in theDistrict, and that list will be a part of the website.
Activate online mapmaking tools that are remarkably easy to use and offer a new way forus to interact with and interpret our world. By engaging the public in direct participatorymapmaking, DC By the Book seeks to encourage and enhance the digital skills of
participants. This is part of DC Public Library’s efforts to engage in collaborative work that
moves the library into the realm of content creation and digital instruction.Beyond these high-level goals, the project brings together several organizations with overlappinginterests in DC local history to deliver a new shared service to the public. The project co-directorsare also hopeful that the DC By the Book might serve as a model for others who might want todevelop a similar literary mapping project in their city
imagine the possibilities of New York Bythe Book, London By the Book, or Paris Par le Livre!In addition to the development of the website and supporting technology, DC By the Book includesa variety of programming between March and September 2013:
Four signature events (March 27
kickoff at Busboys and Poets, 5
and K Street NW, 6-8pm, plus one each led by our local history/culture partners)
Four mapathons (4-hour programs similar to wikithons, where anyone can drop by, read abook, and enter passages onto the map)
A monthly reading series supported by existing book clubs at neighborhood libraries