When October Books, a local institution in Southampton in the U.K., decided to move to a new location, they asked for a few volunteers to help move books. The new site is about 500 feet (150 meters) away, and they thought a human chain might be a good way to pass the store's collection from one place to the other.
A remarkable 250 or so volunteers eagerly stepped up to help. They created a human chain, passing 2,000 books from person to person from the old stockroom to the new location in a former bank. It was a bright, sunny day and as they happily worked, passers-by stopped to see what was going on, offering their support and some joining in to help.
"I’m absolutely bowled over by how many volunteers have turned out to support October Books. It's been such a long journey," said Annabel Hodgson, part of the collective behind October Books.
Founded in 1977, October Books is an independent store, which the owners describe as a "radical bookshop." Historically, radical bookstores are a place where people can also meet to share ideas, agendas and plans.
The bookstore owners decided to move after a rent increase at their former location. A mainstay in the area for 40 years, the community bookstore has thrived in three rental locations but now will own its new spot with money raised from loans and donations. The store had been in the previous site for 15 years before the move.
The books weren't moved very far — the distance was just about one and a half times the size of a football field. There were people of all ages in the line, including children and at least one baby in a stroller.
Many people from neighboring businesses also offered their support.
"It's amazing! The power of community coming together and achieving something like this," said Jani Franck of the nearby Art House cafe, who took part in the human chain and then stayed afterwards to paint the new bookshelves.
Here's a video of the human chain at work:
Besides the hundreds of volunteers who were on hand, there were plenty of virtual supporters around the world. Many showed their praise online.
"Well done," wrote Donna Burrow on the store's Facebook page. "Awesome demonstration of how a community comes together and supports."
Rupert Pitt agreed. "Great work! Good to see the community all getting together."