October Books is a local institution in Southampton, a port city on England’s south coast.
A not-for-profit radical bookstore with a 40-year history, it was recently forced to relocate after a rent increase in July.
With the help of a fundraising campaign and local donors, the bookshop successfully bought the former premises of a Nat West bank, just 150 meters along Portswood Road, for almost half a million pounds.
However, it still faced the daunting prospect of moving some 20,000 books, along with all the furniture, boxing and shelving.
So volunteers behind October Books appealed to their community for help. And it certainly responded.
On Sunday, about 250 people formed a human chain from October Books’ old stockroom all the way along 54 doors of high street to the store’s new location, passing a total of 2,000 books by hand in just a few hours.
Annabel Hodgson, who’s been part of the collective through many years and several premises, said she was “absolutely bowled over” by the huge turnout.
Local businesses and groups also lent their support. “It’s amazing! The power of community coming together and achieving something like this,” Jani Franck of The Art House, who took part in the chain and stayed to paint the new bookshelves, said.
While there are still thousands of books to move, volunteers are still showing up to help and there are “lift and shift” volunteering spots available this week, the store said.
October Books hopes to reopen at its new location on November 3.