Minecraft showcase: Check out the massive Uncensored Library designed to combat censorship

Minecraft Uncensored Library
Minecraft Uncensored Library (Image credit: Reporters Without Borders)

In our last Minecraft showcase, we saw how incredibly talented people could recreate the entirety of Hogwarts in Minecraft, with functional RPG elements. This time around, we're looking at a project designed to help people in the real world, by giving them access to knowledge previously forbidden to them. The Uncensored Library, masterminded by Reporters Without Borders (RSF,) takes advantage of a significant loophole: even in oppressive countries where the media might be censored, Minecraft is still accessible to people of all ages.

Let's empower the next generation to stand up for their right to information and give them a powerful tool to fight oppressive leaders: knowledge. Together with the ever-expanding gaming community, we will show the world that the truth will never be silenced!

Straight from the Uncensored Library's website, it's clear that this project was not intended to spark joy during someone's recreational bout of Minecraft. The people behind the project wanted to give voice to journalists in countries that risked (and sometimes gave) their lives for the truth but were silenced in one way or another. Now articles from journalists in five different countries are available, uncensored, in both the original languages and in English. And all of them can be accessed through Minecraft in the countries in which they were originally banned. It's a powerful message, and it's possible using the freedom given to builders in Minecraft.

A powerful message, using the freedom given in Minecraft.

Over 200 books make up the library's catalog, and the number continues to expand as time goes on, and more journalists submit their articles. Reporters Without Borders worked with the oh-so-gifted builders at Blockworks, as well as DDB Germany and MediaMonks, to help bring the ambitious project to life. 24 builders in 16 countries, over 3 months and 250 hours, and a staggering 12.5 million blocks. According to RSF, the library's central dome is nearly 300 meters wide, which would make it the second-largest in the world (if it was a real building.)

Minecraft Uncensored Library

Source: Reporters Without Borders (Image credit: Source: Reporters Without Borders)

The point of these Minecraft showcases is to, well, showcase the awe-inspiring things you can accomplish in Minecraft. Most of the time, this is going to be things like the whole of Hogwarts, which took an absurd amount of work, attention to detail, and talent, and patience that I simply don't possess. Today is a little different, though, because the Uncensored Library has real implications outside of Minecraft, has a genuine intention behind it besides the question "Is this possible?" and shows that Minecraft can be more than just a video game. It can be a tool to drive real change, much like Mojang is trying to do with the Education Edition of Minecraft by teaching young children subjects like architecture, math, agriculture, and science.

But just because the Uncensored Library is designed to be functional does not mean it can't be beautiful. The library is designed around the familiar yet still commanding neoclassical architecture style popularized by the ancient Greeks and Romans and is still used in government buildings, libraries, and museums all over the world. There's no doubt the style is imposing and exudes an air of knowledge and class. And in the Uncensored Library, everything is turned up to eleven. Check out the images below.

If images aren't enough for you, that's understandable. That's why the Uncensored Library is opening its doors now (March 12, 2020), and is available to everyone who wishes to take a tour. If you check out their official website, you can get more information, get a fully interactive tour, donate to the cause (which is well-deserved, so please do if you can,) become a member of Reporters Without Borders, and more. There's also a way for you to contact RSF if you believe you're a journalist that could benefit from having your articles in the Uncensored Library.

If you want to skip all of that for now and get straight to the library, you can download the map for offline play here or, even better, join the official online Minecraft server at "visit.uncensoredlibrary.com." As of now, the map only works on Minecraft: Java Edition.

Update March 23, 2020: Concerning any plans to move the Uncensored Library to Minecraft: Bedrock Edition, "Unfortunately there are no plans to convert to Bedrock. Although there's a huge audience there, it's very difficult to share Bedrock content without going through the Minecraft Marketplace—which this map would not be suitable for," said James Delaney, Managing Director at BlockWorks. We'll update if we receive any additional information.

I was genuinely surprised to learn about this project. Even without the statement behind it, this build still would've been cool enough for me to write it up and show off to anyone interested in looking. But the Uncensored Library is a little different than most projects you'll see in Minecraft, and it's better for it. Minecraft is a timeless game with well over 100 million monthly users (according to Reporters Without Borders, that number is now over 145 million) and has been alive and well for over a decade now. Yet, every day, people find ways to expand upon the legacy Minecraft has built for itself. And that's pretty cool.

What do you think about the Uncensored Library? Are there any other awesome projects in Minecraft you think we should show off? Let us know in the comments below!

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.