Only in 2114 can books in the Future library be read

30 September 2022

Since 2014, The Future Library, located in the Deichman Library in Oslo, Norway, has been going about assembling a collection of one hundred manuscripts, at the rate of one work per year. When the library reaches capacity, in 2114, the collection will be made available to one thousand people who have purchased certificates allowing them, or a descendent, access to the writings.

The ‘Silent Room’ where the manuscripts are to be kept is built using wood from the original trees felled to make way for the trees planted for the project. Katie Paterson has been working with the architectural team to design this part of the new public library. The collected works will be on display but the manuscripts will not be available for reading.

The library, which is the brainchild of Scottish visual artist Katie Paterson, has so far invited prominent authors, including Margaret Atwood, Han Kang, and Ocean Vuong, to submit manuscripts. I like the idea, but I’m not sure about having to wait almost one hundred years to read what’s in the collection, even if I knew I’d still be around by then.


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