A Human Chain of Volunteers Offer to Move Thousands of Books

A Human Chain of Volunteers Offer to Move Thousands of Books

“Can you lend a hand?” was a question formulated by October Books, an independent bookstore, located in Southhampton, England.

Volunteers were needed for “heavy manual work.” It was crucial for volunteers to lift and carry boxes and office supplies.

Among the supplies included thousands of books.

This question came from October Books after they struggled to afford the rising rent prices of the store they occupied since 1970.

Aside from the price issue, the bookstore had to figure out how to move their stock without having to pay for expensive moving services.

This was when October Books pleaded for volunteers to form a chain between the old store and the new location.

At first only a few showed up, but to their astonishment — over 200 people lined up on the pavement to pass out 2,000 books.

“It was very moving,” Ms. Hynes, a bookstore employee told The New York Times, adding all employees “got choked up” over the community’s help.

Amy Brown, one of the store’s employees told NPR her stunned reaction to the turnout.

“I was handing books to people without actually seeing the entirety of it,” Brown said. “So it was only after about 20 minutes I actually went out to the road and saw the extent of the people.”

“We wanted something that was accessible for the whole family, for children and people who were older who wouldn’t necessarily be able to paint or move heavy pieces, to help out,” Ms. Hynes said.

Even passing pedestrians would jump in to help. Nearby cafe’s even brought teas and coffees for the volunteers.

“It was really sort of surprising and positive and just a really moving experience to see people chipping in because they wanted to help. And they wanted to be part of something bigger,” Brown told NPR.

Overall, the bookstore has bigger plans as well.

“The shop plans to sell the second floor of the former back building to a charity in Southampton to create supportive housing for homeless people and to create a community hub in the back,” Ms. Hynes said.