Biggest floating library in the world

CNC report from Bangkok
Added On March 10, 2013

Having been at sea to "bring knowledge, help and hope to the people of the world" since February 2009, the Logos Hope has arrived in Bangkok in the timely year the city has been bestowed the title of World Book Capital.

The floating book fair recently anchored at Klong Toey Port allowing Bangkok's bibliophiles to enjoy their literary love and cultural diversity.

Docked at the Klong Toei port, the "bookship" carries around 5,000 titles - more than 500,000 volumes - covering a wide range of subjects, including science, information technology, sport, hobbies, cooking, the arts, children and family reading, as well as a large collection of publications on Christianity.

The ship also has Thai books.

Operated by the German non-profit Good Books for All Ships, project director Lloyd Nicholas said the Logos Hope's mission is to bring knowledge, assistance and hope to people worldwide.

"Our mission and purpose is to bring knowledge and hope and help. We bring knowledge through the book fair. Bringing books to people whom don't have access to literature and help. And there are lots of people in the world that needs help. Practical help can mean food and clothing and material means but there are people who need help in the sense that they need to be valued. Therefore we bring knowledge through books to provide help in knowledge for people all over the world and to let them know they are valued."

The massive ship carries more than 5,000 English titles from all over the world covering a wide range of topics such as cooking, travel, self-improvement and dictionaries, although the selection is mostly devoted to children.

Technically speaking, it's no different from visiting a local bookstore, but the main draw is that the books are cheaper due to the organization's non-profit stance and dedication to providing books for the less fortunate.

Many of the books are donations from publishers, which enables the fair to sell them for a fraction of the full cost.

The books are usually older editions, but some in the collection are rare and no longer on shelves, evoking the nostalgia button in many.

The books available are mainly in English, but material in the local language of the port of call are also provided.

Since the ship travels all around the world, the price tags are labelled in units, with 100 units equalling 2.5 US Dollars.

"It is an opportunity for my kids to open up their perspectives… that books are not only located in libraries. Books can come from a ship that carries books from all over the world."

Education Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana, the guest of honor who officially opened Logos Hope's book fair to the public, said the ship came at the right time.

Phongthep said Thai people are reading an average of only three to five books a year but this ship will provide not only books, but also a chance to meet international people who they can learn from.

A project by a charitable organization, GBA Ships has a crew of about 400 volunteers from more than 45 nations.

On top of the book sales, Logos Hope also aids communities.

As one of the provinces that was most affected by the 2011 floods, crew members will assist in rebuilding what is needed to help the community get back on its feet whether schools, houses, playgrounds or canteens.

"Travelling is a great of adventure. I like adventure but my main reason is not for the money. I want to serve the people all over the world. That is why I came to volunteer in this ship."

"My favorite experience was when we teamed up by dressing up little girls when we travel to various countries. We've donated 10000 dresses to little girls. Just putting the dresses on the girls and telling them they are valued and they special beautiful was really something amazing for me."

What binds people from all over the world in this project is their shared Christian faith, but visitors of other beliefs need not worry that they will not be welcomed or bombarded with unsolicited teachings.

MV Logos Hope will be at the Bangkok Port until March 11th.