Is there anything worse than ordering a book online and it takes ages to arrive? Maybe it’s out of stock or coming from the other side of the world. Or maybe your house is too remote. That is the case for some Swedish people living on remote islands in the far north of the country. That’s where the bokbåten comes in.
You’d be forgiven for not knowing what a bokbåten is. But, now you’re intrigued. It is a special boat that houses loads of books. Like a floating library. Incredible right? Well, wait until you realise what it does for the people.
Sweden has one of the highest literacy rates in the world. The government puts utmost importance onto reading for children. They believe that equal access to reading is crucial for a child’s success in life, regardless of economic background or geographic location.
That’s why the bokbåten comes along to these islands twice a year. Once in spring and once in autumn, the Stockholm Library Service rents the boat. It fills it with over 3,000 books and sails it to the remote islands of the Stockholm archipelago. It docks at 23 inhabited islands where residents can get on board and browse the collection.
Islanders can also order books ahead of time, with new releases proving extremely popular.
A 2010 study found it had a profound effect on people, too.
“The book boat is of great positive value for children and adults because they can in this way take part in the modern public library. The book boat has an important function as extraordinarily good public relations for the library’s services and has the effect of promoting reading not only in the archipelago but elsewhere.”
What do you make of it? Let us know in the comments, and share with your family and friends. You can check out similar stories on Happiest, like this kid who made an amazing impact on AGT.