German NGO Good Books for All (GBA), which launched the floating book fair project in 2009, says its boats, including the Logos Hope, have visited over 480 ports in 150 countries and welcomed over 49 million bibliophiles since the program began.
The ship was originally built in 1973 in Germany, where it served as a cargo ship for 10 years. In 1983 it was sold to a ferry company in the Danish Faroe Islands to transport passengers and goods between Iceland and Norway, until it was sold in March 2004 to Good Books For All, a German charitable company that owns a number of floating book fairs that tour various ports around the world.
Logos Hope is the fourth ship the GBA has operated and is the largest floating book fair in the world. The ship has a unique concept: a platform to promote literacy and education, cross-cultural harmony and service of others.
The 400 volunteers making up Logos Hope’s crew represent the world’s diversity; having come from more than 60 different nations to serve at sea for a period of one or two years. While officially registered in Valletta, Malta, the vessel doesn’t stay in a home base: with the exception of annual maintenance stops, she is continually moving from port to port, where her crew shares knowledge, help and hope in local communities.
The crew members welcomed visitors with friendly smiles while wearing the traditional costumes of their nations, including Brazil, Chile, China, Ghana, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Thailand and Zambia.
The ship remains in each port for several weeks and opens the gangways to thousands of visitors each day. On average, one million visitors have been welcomed on board one of GBA ships every year. The floating book fair offers over 5,000 titles, providing many visitors their first-ever opportunity to purchase quality literature.
The motto of Logos Hope is “sharing knowledge, help, and hope.” The book fair offers a wide variety of books from various fields, including science, literature, education, hobbies and more, all sold at affordable prices to serve the purpose of sharing knowledge. The book fair opens daily, and closes late, giving those eager to read and discover new books plenty of time and opportunity to learn more and explore the shelves.
Other attractions on board include the International Café, theatre performances, conferences, training and multicultural events. In addition, Logos Hope also hosts cultural performances, provides language lessons, and organizes service projects.