World’s Largest Floating Book ‘Sanctuary’ Spreads Knowledge, Hope-Xinhua

Aerial photo taken on July 12, 2022 shows the Logos Hope docked at Valletta Harbor in Valletta, Malta. (Photo by Jonathan Borg/Xinhua)

It offers more than 5,000 book titles, mostly in English, covering a wide range of subjects including science, sports, hobbies, cooking, art, languages ​​and religion. College textbooks on languages, math, geography and history can also be found on board.

VALLETTA, July 23 (Xinhua). About 300 people from 60 countries will travel around the world aboard the largest floating book fair ever to spread the joy of reading and bring hope and help to those in need.

This is the mission of Logos Hope, a 132-meter ship that was commissioned in February 2009. On July 12, she entered the port of Valletta, Malta, where she will be moored until the end of the month for bookworms of all ages to enjoy a world of books.

The crew members, from captains and cooks to those responsible for stacking the thousands of books on board, are all volunteers.

It offers more than 5,000 book titles, mostly in English, covering a wide range of subjects including science, sports, hobbies, cooking, art, languages ​​and religion. College textbooks on languages, math, geography and history can also be found onboard.

Although the ship is officially registered in Valletta, the ship spends little time there, instead moving from port to port so the crew can share knowledge and help local communities, media officer Sebastian Moncayo told Xinhua during a ship tour.

People select books aboard the Logos Hope during a floating book fair in Valletta, Malta, July 14, 2022. (Photo by Jonathan Borg/Xinhua)

A regular on Logos Hope since 2019, with a short break to visit family in his home country of Ecuador, 34-year-old Moncayo loves his life on board and meeting people from other countries and cultures.

He told how the boat has spent the last three months in Las Palmas, Spain, where it was first open to the public and then moved to a dock in another part of Spain for its annual maintenance. Before that, the boat was in West Africa, calling at Sierra Leone, Ghana and Liberia.

After Malta, the boat will sail to Albania and Montenegro in the autumn and possibly continue its tour to Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan in the winter.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, crew were not allowed to disembark for 122 days, Moncayo said. The pandemic also reduced the boat’s revenue, which came mostly from selling books they bought from donors for a fraction of the market price. There is an entrance fee of 1 euro (US$1.02) for visitors between the ages of 13 and 64.

In their port of call, the crew usually disembark to help local communities through projects with NGOs. “We want to spread the message of how well diverse communities can live together,” Moncayo said.

“It is our love of books and our fascination with meeting people from different cultures that brings us together. (Our) mission is to spread knowledge and hope and to help (people), and that binds us together,” he said.

The ship is operated as part of the non-profit organization GBA Ships, based in Germany.

People select books aboard the Logos Hope during a floating book fair in Valletta, Malta, July 14, 2022. (Photo by Jonathan Borg/Xinhua)

Bookworm Christine Ellul, 42, insists on visiting the book fair and has been there twice so far.

“I went twice, once alone (to have some peace and quiet) and another time with my kids,” she told Xinhua. “I read at least one book every week and my kids love to read too.”

The idea of ​​the largest floating book fair is also tempting, she said. “The kids enjoyed their time on the boat, talking and playing with the crew. We got off the boat with three bags full of books,” she added.

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