Sweden’s Floating Libraries: Boats Are Bringing Books to Thousands Who Need Them


The library on the water comes to a Swedish island of Moja, a quiet, green place with about 200 residents. 

For one week twice a year the Stockholm county library boat visits 23 islands in the Stockholm archipelago. Rotating staff or 3 or 4 librarians help residents to choose from 3,000 books.

People can borrow anything they like, put it on a library card and be trusted for good, as there are no penalties if a book isn’t returned in 6-months’ time. 

With the funding from the Regional Library in Stockholm and municipalities, the floating library buys new books regularly. 

The tradition to bring books both by boat and by bus to rural communities promotes strong literacy across Scandinavia. There are small libraries in stores and social gathering spots across the country. No wonder literacy rates are among the highest in the world.

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