The book boat "Epos" is a floating public library that visits smaller places in the counties of Hordaland and Møre og Romsdal in the winter and a tourist boat in the summer. The boat was at one time the world's largest built in aluminum, and has over the years contributed to giving local showers in the western part of Norway cultural replenishment.
The boat has an open and modular interior so that it can be easily converted to a book boat in the winter. Because of this, it is therefore very suitable for companies where there is a need for a special table setting. Otherwise, the boat has a kiosk and toilets. There is also a top deck where it is possible to stay to take pictures or enjoy the view.
- Length: 125.6 photo
- Hull: Aluminium
Tonnage: 120 brt
The boat's history
From idea to action
How should one run a library business in a country like Norway, where fjords, mountains and valleys separate people from each other? This was what many people asked themselves in the fifties. It was then quickly suggested that a floating library be established that traveled between all the small villages. But how would this be done, and what would it cost?
It turned out that it was the Swedes who had the answer to this. They had in fact started up with their own book boat in the Swedish skerries. After a visit by the Swedish state librarian, Sigurd Möhlenbrock, who explained how the operation worked in Sweden, western enthusiasts made sure to get the project started.
Library ships Abdulla and Fjord Guide
The first trip to the book boat operation took place in September 1959. The choice of book boat had fallen on the old cutter Abdulla (62 feet) which had previously been an agent boat for sellers who had traveled along the coast to local communities. The book boat was a great success, and after only 1.5 months, 150 villages had already been visited and 7,000 books lent out. In the years that followed, the boat became more and more popular, and there was a desire to also be able to show films, plays and give lectures on the boat. It therefore gradually became clear that there was a need for a larger boat
From the spring of 1962, the 66-foot-long Fjord Guide took over the role of cultural fleet. It was now possible to give lectures and plays and the boat went three voyages before a new boat arrived again.
Epos - Book boat, tourist boat and the world's largest aluminum boat
Even before it was built, Epos was intended as a book boat. The plan was for her to run a tourist route for Hardangerr-Sunnhordlanske Dampskipsselskap (HSD) in the summer, and run as a book boat in the winter. She was delivered from Fjellstrand Båtbyggeri at Oma in Hardanger, and was in her time the world's largest boat in aluminum.
Since she was launched in 1963, Epos has functioned as a book boat for various settlements in western Norway. In her heyday, she went on trips to the three western counties of Hordaland, Sogn og Fjordane and Møre og Romsdalen. It was also upgraded in 1985 with expanded library capacity and larger wheelhouses.
Operating as before
Although a lot has changed since Epos started the route as a book boat, there is also a lot that is similar. Today, the boat is no longer the largest in aluminum, but continues the tradition of going as a tourist vessel in the summer, and a book boat in the winter.