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Weird Libraries: Norway's Library Boat


Life + Learning

  • Boats docked in Norway

Carroll, Queen's Square | May 25, 2018

The Bokbaten Epos is a floating library that operates in the country of Norway and serves the two western counties of Hordaland, and More og Romsdal. The Library Boat sails to small and remote communities along the Norwegian fjords and visits these counties twice a year. Due to the isolated nature of some of the communities, and coupled with the fact that a substantial part of the country was most easily reached by boat, the national library authority thought that a sea borne library would be a great way to bring books and other cultural activities to the country. The floating library began service in 1959, in a 62 foot cutter (a small, single-masted sailboat) and was an instant success, visiting 150 villages and lending 7000 books in a month and a half.

In 1959, the Epos was built and has been sailing as a library boat on the coast of Norway ever since. The Epos is 85 feet long and carries approximately 6000 books in the library lounge. Today, the library boat circulates 20,000 items over the course of 90 sailing days. The boat is also outfitted with cabins and a dining/sitting room for the crew, which is comprised of a captain, a seaman, three librarians and one or two performers. From September to April the Epos delivers books to about 150 small communities. During the summer months, the boat is repurposed and used for tourist cruises.


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