VALLETTA (XINHUA) – About 300 people from 60 countries are touring the world on board the largest-ever floating book fair to spread the joy of reading and bring hope and help to the needy.
This is the mission of Logos Hope, a 132-metre-long ship that was placed into service in February 2009. It entered the Valletta harbor in Malta on July 12, where it is docked until the end of the month for bookworms of different ages to enjoy a world of books.
The crew members, from captains and chefs to those responsible for stacking the thousands of books on board, are all volunteers.
On offer are more than 5,000 titles of books, mostly in English, that cover a wide range of subjects including science, sports, hobbies, cookery, arts, languages and religion. College coursebooks on languages, mathematics, geography and history can also be found on board.
Although officially registered in Valletta, the vessel spends little time there, moving instead from port to port, so that the crew can share knowledge and help local communities, media relations officer Sebastian Moncayo told Xinhua during a tour of the vessel.
After Malta, the boat will sail to Albania and Montenegro in the fall, then may continue its tour further on to Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan in the winter.
When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2020, the crew was not allowed to disembark for 122 days, Moncayo said.
The pandemic also slashed the boat’s income, mostly derived from selling books they buy for a fraction of the market price from donors. An entrance fee of EUR1 (USD1.02) is applicable for visitors aged between 13 and 64.