Beekeeper Group has partnered with the DC Public Library (a pro bono client), to create “DC by the Book,” a geographical exploration of fiction that takes place in the District. The project encourages residents and visitors to explore the district through the lens of local DC fiction.

A user selects a zip code or address to trigger a search of a custom interactive map displaying the real-life locations featured in various DC-based fiction novels. The map shows excerpts from selected novels at each linked address and neighborhood location. It also allows users to share these locations with friends or check out the book directly through the DC Public Library online checkout system.

But the site is not intended as just a passive experience. Those with a passion for local fiction are encouraged to help crowd-source book listings and excerpts for the site, or to add supporting media content about the location where scenes take place. Do you know a piece of fiction referencing your neighborhood? You can add a passage or listing yourself through the website as well.

Dc By the Book Splash page

“The open creation process moves the library into the role of a facilitator and content collaborator, and directly engages the public in a digital project that may change how they interact with the city they live in.” – Tony Ross, DC By the Book co-creator, DC Public Library

As the technical partner on the project, Beekeeper Group, adapted techniques we often use to help tell the story of our advocacy clients and applied them to graphically represent DC’s rich fiction landscape

DC By the Book Map


  • Helps take the story off the page by allowing readers to identify real-life locations featured in their favorite books
  • Provides a new and interesting way to tell the DC story
  • Allows for crowd-sourcing of books and excerpts to facilitate a genuine community-wide project
  • Uses Beekeeper Group’s unique advocacy asset mapping skills to create custom maps that display content in an engaging way
  • Utilizes Google Map API, open-source CMS, stylized mapping, and responsive design
  • Creates a model for other cities, and/or organizations, and associations that want to visualize their communities and key data

This project already has the town abuzz. The Kojo Nnamdi Show recently did a segment on DC by the Book with its co-creator, Tony Ross, where they discussed this initiative as the apex between literature, library service, and 21st century technology.

The project will launch with a panel discussion on Wednesday March 27th, 2013 at Busboys and Poets (at 5th and K Streets NW) at 6pm. Featured authors include Thomas Mallon (Watergate), Anne McLaughlin (The House On Q Street), George Pelecanos (The Big Blowdown), and editor Adam McKible.  Also, on the panel will be Beekeeper Group’s own Henri Makembe who spearheaded the project.

More About DC By The Book – Explore DC Like Never Before

DC By the Book is an interactive literary map of the District.  Explore passages from great works of fiction about DC and upload content from your own reads.  Search for depictions of Washington by local and nationally-known authors, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, throughout the years. Don’t see a favorite book or book set in your neighborhood?  Check out the project booklist and ‘map’ the book yourself!  The project was developed by the DC Public Library with assistance from a $20,000 Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant and partnerships with the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., Cultural Tourism DC, the Humanities Council of Washington, DC, and public affairs firm Beekeeper Group. Try it now.

More About Beekeeper Group

Beekeeper Group is a DC based public affairs firm that assists clients to cultivate and grow their hive of supporters. We work with clients to find unique and engaging ways to tell their story and demonstrate the value of their members and issues. We utilize video, animation, asset mapping, mobile technology, and information design to shape and share this narrative.