Inspiring libraries of today and tomorrow

By Catriona Kinney
Photo by Twechy

There’s a forest growing in Norway. But this is not just any forest – its trees will become the pages of a Future Library:  a special anthology of books to be printed in one hundred years from now. One writer a year will contribute a text – starting with Margaret Atwood - which will be secured and unpublished until 2114.

As a big fan of both libraries and Margaret Atwood these facts fill me with joy, but also despair that I will never get my hands on these great secret books (unless I’m alive and kicking at age 127!).

It might seem strange that Margaret Atwood’s book will already be a century out of date when it is published, and some have questioned whether the language change in that time will make it difficult to read. However many of the nations’ most-loved books have stood the test of time, like A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, published in 1843, and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, published in 1813.

Pride and Prejudice and other books can be found in another new innovative library announced last month –and accessible to non-time travellers - Recovery College Library in Southwark, South London.

The library was opened for International Literacy Day by St.Mungo’s Broadway, a homeless charity, as part of their Reading Matters campaign. The campaign aims to improve homeless people's poor level of basic reading, writing and maths skills, as the charity found that 51% of homeless people they surveyed lack the basic literacy skills needed for everyday life.

Supporters of the campaign were asked to nominate which books meant the most to them, and the library is formed of over 100 of these nominations.

The best-loved books included The Lord of the Rings by J. R, R. Tolkien, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. Nineteen Eighty-Four was nominated by supporter Jack Davies because it's "a brilliantly detailed satire of our lives today, yet written some 65 years ago. More poignant today than any piece of literature or comment written now."

This goes to show that even books written long ago still have the power to inspire the hearts and minds of people today and in the future.

Here’s hoping that when the future library opens a hundred years’ time, everyone will have a roof over their head and the literacy skills to read the books.

Poached Creative provides journalism training to homeless and other disadvantaged people.

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