World's largest floating library, Logos Hope, has opened its gangways for bibliophiles in Muscat, who can browse and buy from more than 5,000 titles in Arabic, English, Malayalam and Tagalog until October 7. T A Ameerudheen takes a trip around the nine-decked giant ship and checks out what lies in store for visitors.
An unusual visitor docked at the Sultan Qaboos Ports on Tuesday evening. The giant blue and white ship neither carried huge containers, automobiles or heavy-duty machinery. It didn't load minerals or unload perishable items. Instead, it just had tonnes of books and 400 volunteers who promise to spread the message of hope!
Logos Hope, World's largest floating library, has returned to Sultan Qaboos Port close to three years after it left Muscat in 2011. It provides a huge opportunity for the bibliophiles in Muscat to browse and buy from more than 5,000 titles on various topics, including science, sports, hobbies and family life.
The availability of children's titles, academic texts, dictionaries and atlases make the book fair a wholesome family affair. Books are available in four different languages – Arabic, English, Malayalam and Tagalog at affordable rates.
"This is my first visit to Muscat with Logos Hope. It was a seven-day trip from Colombo. Everybody is happy to reach the wonderful port of Muscat. We are aware of its rich heritage," Captain James Dyer, Master of Logos Hope told Hi Weekly. "We will be eager to explore Muscat. We have 400 volunteers representing 45 different nations on board. But our main aim is to bring good literature for the people. In 2011, around 26,000 people visited us. We expect the number will go up this time," he added.
The ship was in Colombo for almost a month (from August 29 to September 23, 2013) before it began its Muscat trip. "We received five containers of books from Colombo. That was enough to replenish our shelves for the avid readers in Muscat. We refill our shelves every three months. We will get our next book container in Abu Dhabi," said Captain Dyer.
As soon as the ship docked at the port, volunteers spruced up the nine-deck ship, replenished the shelves with new titles, and arranged them properly. In fact, volunteers form the backbone of Logos Hope. All of them are non-salaried volunteers, including many serving in their professional capacity, such as seafarers, engineers, electricians, nurses, teachers and cooks. And sponsorship from friends, family members and civic organisations helps them serve on board.
Decks of Logos Hope
Deck 3 :
Logos Hope doesn't want to limit its activities in spreading knowledge alone. It is more than just about books. So the volunteers often associate with charity drives quite often. They will take part in a host of charity activities during their one-week stay in Muscat. "Expressing love for those in need, promoting peace by embracing diversity and guiding people towards a purposeful life is part of our vision," said Cat Tse, another volunteer from the United Kingdom, who works as Media Relations Officer.
The volunteers will venture out to clean the beaches on October 4, and involve in an eye testing camp on board on October 7. Besides, they plan to visit schools to interact with students and spend time with children afflicted with cancer and disability in various hospitals.
The volunteers will partner with I-Care Initiative's 11th water distribution event on October 5. The drive aims to distribute 11,000 water bottles to street