The world’s largest floating book fair docks at Singapore’s port.
Contributed By Bernie Guan
With the school holiday season underway, how about spending quality time perusing books aboard a ship? Logos Hope, a missions ship converted into the world’s largest floating bookstore-cum-library, will dock at Singapore’s shores on Dec. 17, bringing with it more than 5,000 book titles selling at discounted prices.
Sailing the world on its maiden voyage, Logos Hope is owned and operated by GBA Ships e.V. (previously Good Books for All), a non-profit organization based in Germany. Together with the rest of its fleet, namely Doulos, Logos and Logos II, the seafaring book fairs have made over 1,400 port visits to more than 160 countries and territories and welcomed over 42 million visitors aboard since 1970. Logos Hope itself is GBA Ships’ biggest till date, being double the size of its previous ships.
The Logos Hope community, made up of over 45 different nationalities, comprises non-salaried volunteers mostly in their 20s and 30s who serve on board for a typical period of two years. Their roles range from engineers and electricians to nurses, teachers and cooks.
Through the Visitor Experience Deck open to the public, guests can experience first-hand the challenges and living conditions unique to this seafaring community. There will also be a series of seminars and conferences conducted on topics including marriage, AIDS awareness and primary health care.
At the book fair, over 5,000 book titles covering a wide range of subjects from science and sports to hobbies, cookery, the arts, economics, medicine and Christian living, are available for purchase at a fraction of the original retail price. The books, mostly donated by publishers, comprise older editions that have been taken off the shelves in first world countries. As such, the books provide low-cost alternatives for readers in developing countries where literary resources are typically scarce and too expensive for low-income groups.
Besides the large selection of English books, crew members ensure that reading materials in the local languages of each destination port are stocked. In impoverished nations, Logos Hope also makes literary donations of textbooks and reference books to the local communities.
Aid and relief work comprising medical aid, construction projects and spontaneous gifts of food and clothing form the other dimension of the ship’s ministry. As they travel around the world, the crew go from the ship into surrounding areas, joining hands with the local churches to supply aid and community care.
Logos Hope will be open to visitors from Dec. 17 to Dec. 29 (Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sundays and Mondays 3 p.m.-10 p.m.) at the Promenade, VivoCity. Dec. 24, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., closed on Christmas Day, Dec. 26, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Log on to http://www.logoshope.org/singapore for more information. Free admission.