Speculative Futures | Post-Pandemic Libraries

“Futures are not a destination, but a medium for imaginative thought” - Anthony Dunne & Fiona Raby 1

We might consider post-pandemic libraries to be behind us, or immediately facing us; or, perhaps they’re far beyond any near-term horizon. Remote, distant, or extending through centuries into a yet-unimagined future. ‘Post-pandemic’ is an intentionally nebulous frame of reference, affording almost instantaneous, molecular futures, while simultaneously opening a fissure in contemporary reality: an opportunity for the as-of-yet-unthought-of to be released unto the world.

Attribution: Joseph Voros

This call for proposals seeks submissions for a web-based publication. The finished product will be similar to walking through a curated exhibit at an art gallery, where each contribution stands on its own as a work of art, but together, create an object for reflecting upon our present-day library and information practices.

We welcome proposals from underrepresented groups, including but not limited to: women, people of color, LGBTQ+, ability/disability, and non-binary gender identities. We also invite proposals from members of underrepresented and/or marginalized groups that don’t fit into the categories listed above.

Potential contributions might include:

  • Photoessays
  • Drawings/sketches
  • Film/trailer
  • Cautionary tales
  • Software/code
  • Object from the future
  • Postcards that travel back in time to us
  • Maps or other fictional cartography
  • Architectural designs
  • Dataset from the future
  • Short stories, theatrical spaces, movements
  • A manifesto
  • Description of an activist event/protest from the future
  • News of a cataclysmic event that serves as a tipping point
  • Reading lists for yet-to-be-written works

Proposals and any questions about the project can be submitted to Derek Zoladz () by December 7, 2020.

Assistance for Contributors

Support will be made available to each contributor. While limited, we will work with you to determine the most appropriate method and format to submit raw materials to be stitched together for publication. We want to remove as many barriers to contribution as possible, while striving to maintain the uniqueness of each contributor’s ideal vision for their work.

Further Explanation of this Project

This work is the apotheosis of a yearlong exploration of speculative design and libraries. Beginning with TEDSIG 2020 2 in July of 2020, continued through an inspired Speculative Design and Climate Reading Group 3 with LATITUDE | Chicago, and culminating with the publication of this object on speculative library futures.


  1. Dunne, Anthony & Raby, Fiona. (2013). Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
  2. TEDSIG 2020: Speculative and Critical Design and Libraries
  3. Albrecht-Mallinger, Renee & Jung, John. (2020). Design After the End of the World: Speculative Design and Climate Reading Group