By Kate Phillips
Logos Hope is a 12,000 ton ship filled with 5,000 books which has visited 150 countries and has had 44 million visitors since 2009. Its mission is to encourage people to read who do not have easy access to books.
Over 400 volunteers from all over the world live aboard. These volunteers host up to 800 visitors at a time during floating book fairs that last for weeks at each stop. There are also various literary events staged aboard.
This “Book Boat” looks like a regular bookstore on the inside. There are seemingly endless wooden shelves filled with beautiful volumes. Excited visitors walk the aisles looking for the ones that appeal to them. The books are given away to visitors and more are donated to local schools, libraries, and universities before moving on to the next port.
The short news report I watched on BBC America about this project was filmed at a three week stop in Tanzania. The public and government officials were thrilled the Logos Hope was there. It was wonderful to see children and adults who long to read provided with free books—some in English, some in local languages. How many lives will be changed thanks to this program?
While I donate to local libraries, I believe donations to this cause will make a bigger difference. I’ve never seen so many people excited about books since the Harry Potter release parties.
I admit I take access to books for granted. My parents are avid readers so we had books in our house when I was growing up. There are three libraries in town—a main one and two smaller ones in villages at each end of town, plus one 10 minutes away in the next town. There are three bookstores, two new and one used, within 25 minutes. Plus Amazon is always open for business.
Since it’s a rare day when I don’t read, I cannot bear to imagine a life without books. I’m thrilled this wonderful program exists for readers around the world in need of books.