A reading room in Vatican library
When Pope Benedict was approaching his 70th birthday, in 1997, he made a request to spend his last years as an archivist in the Vatican library, according to a report in Inside the Vatican magazine.
The current archivist, Cardinal Raffaele Farina, said that the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had a brief meeting with him and discussed what the duties in the Vatican library and archives involved.
When Cardinal Farnia realised that he was actually interested in working there himself, he said: "I expressed clearly how happy I and the whole staff of the library would be to have him join us."
Pope Benedict has previously said he “would have liked for beloved John Paul II to permit me to devote myself to study and research into the interesting documents and materials … true masterpieces that help us to review the history of humanity and of Christianity”.
However, it seems that Pope John Paul II declined his request. If Cardinal Ratzinger had moved to the Vatican library, he might not have been elected Pope.