Good News from the Future: There will be Libraries

This past weekend I saw the new sci-fi film Looper, written and directed by Rian Johnson, and I enjoyed it.  Most of the film is set in Kansas, year 2044. One of the things I enjoy about films set in the future is seeing what writers and artists think the future will look like.

In Looper the future isn’t an utopia, nor is it a world massively improved by our technological inventions. Although it does look like we’ve discovered an after market product to replace our dependence on oil.

But what I was really happy to see was that there are still libraries in the future! We get to see this library when the 2074 Joe is sent back in time with nothing but his clothes and a series of numbers written on his hand. He needs to find information about these numbers so he goes to what looks like the reading room of a library to get on a computer and do some research.

This futuristic reading room has a nostalgic feel to it with hard wood tables and bookcases lining the walls. The bookcases are wrapped in what looks like cellophane; it is not clear why or what is on the bookcases. I couldn’t find any pictures of them online to get a closer look, but I’d like to think that they actually housed books and they were wrapped to preserve and protect them.

Future Joe sits down at one of the tables and pulls up a glass monitor and uses a hand reading ‘keyboard’ to decode the numbers on his hand. His research leads him to print out a large map on this super thin printer.

sony pictures

So the library of the future is still a vital place for people who don’t have the means themselves to access information on their own. And as we know information is power. In Looper the information that future Joe finds leads to the discovery of a person who may have a great impact on their futures.

Also there is still lots of paper in 2044. I guess ebooks and tablets don’t eliminate our need for paper record keeping.

Know of any other sci-fi flicks that try to imagine the library of the future?

image from


One thought on “Good News from the Future: There will be Libraries

  1. Perhaps another question related to sci-films is not whether there are libraries in the future, but what will be our relationship to information and where is that information stored and protected. This question makes virtually all sci-films relevant to information technology and the library world. It seems to me that the power of knowledge and information is a major leitmotif in the sci-fi genre, in particular how that knowledge translates into technology. It has been many years since I have seen these films but, Bladerunner, 12 Monkeys and Brazil all would have interesting films to reflect on in terms of access to knowledge and information in the future. Great post:)!


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