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Hundreds Form a Human Chain to Move a Small Bookstore

Hundreds Form a Human Chain to Move a Small Bookstore
Image: Courtesy of October Books

For more than four decades, October Books has been a fixture in Southampton, England. But with each passing year, the store struggled with rent increases until it no longer made sense for it to remain in its location.

Last November, the co-op’s members gave their landlord notice that they would be leaving their rented space. A former bank just down the road went on the market and it was perfect for what October Books’ members had in mind. There was one logistical hurdle: How would they move thousands of books from one storeroom to the other?

Someone had a radical idea: form a a human chain and simply pass books, handful by handful, down the road. The two properties were about a tenth of a mile apart. Co-op members estimated that they might be able to pull it off—if they could persuade at least 150 people to show up at once.

On Sunday morning, Clare Diaper, a co-op member, awoke to “massive gray clouds” and a biting chill. As she walked to the shop to prepare to move the books, she feared that the weather would keep most people home. Instead, the co-op members found dozens of people waiting to help. Soon, that number grew to more than 200. They lined up along Portswood Road, almost shoulder to shoulder, connecting October Books’ old and new storerooms.

At 11 a.m. volunteers passed the books from the old storeroom, down the stairs, onto the street, past the fast-food joints and the coffee shops, and eventually into the vault of a freshly painted former bank. The co-op’s members had planned to move 2,000 books in two hours. They moved them all in an hour.

“THAT is community, friends,” the bookstore’s volunteers posted on Twitter afterward.

Possible Preaching Angles: When people come together for a common cause amazing tasks can be accomplished and society takes notice. Local churches can also give a powerful visual testimony when they come together to serve the community in the name of Jesus.

Amy B Wang, “A small bookstore had to relocate. Hundreds formed a human chain to move its books,” The Washington Post (10-30-18)

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