Recently, the operators of a bookstore in Southampton, England made an unusual appeal to people in the community. They sought help moving books and other things to the store’s new location, a short distance down the street.

Community-based October Books put up announcements around the neighborhood and on the internet. They asked, “Can you lend a hand?”

The bookstore made clear the work would be volunteer and that all kinds of people were needed. It would be a lot of work, even if the store was relocating only about 150 meters down the street.

 Naturally, the store had to move books – lots and lots of books.

The announcement said the move would be happening throughout the week. But community members did not wait long to start coming forward to offer their help.

A report in the Southern Daily Echo newspaper said at least 250 volunteers showed up last Sunday ready to work.

With that number of people, the organizers decided to change their method for moving books from the old store to the new one. Instead of having people carry them, volunteers formed a human chain to pass the books from person to person. They lined up between the two locations along Portswood Road.

Clare Diaper works at October Books. 

“It was just amazing, we started with 10 people having to run between shops and ended up with 250 people passing books,” Diaper said. ”

“October Books have done really well. I’m in awe,” she said.

Local news reports said the volunteers passed about 2,000 books from hand-to-hand on October 28 alone. About 18,000 more were to be moved the rest of the week. The Grand Opening of the new store is set for Saturday, November 3.

October Books decided to move from its old location because of rising costs. The operators said they did not have enough money to pay for continued use of the building. So they launched a campaign to raise money to buy a nearby old bank building as the store’s new home.

October Books was founded in 1977 as a small “radical bookshop cooperative” named after Russia’s October Revolution.

Exercise 1


Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.

location (n.) /loʊˈkeɪʃən/ - a place or position

  • This is a lovely location for a house.

chain (n.) /ˈtʃeɪn/ - a series or group of things or people that are connected to each other in some way

  • The new book chronicles the chain of events leading up to the crime.

amazing (adj.) /əˈmeɪzɪŋ/ - causing great surprise or wonder : causing amazement

  • He showed an amazing lack of concern for others.

awe (n.) /ˈɑː/ - a strong feeling of fear or respect and also wonder

  • It was a sight that filled me with awe and reverence.

radical (adj.) /ˈrædɪkəl/ - having extreme political or social views that are not shared by most people

  • radical wing of extremists


Exercise 2


Answer these questions about the article.

  1. October books needed help with what?
  2. What was the slogan?
  3. How many volunteers showed up to help?
  4. How many books did they move?


Exercise 3


Please give your opinion on the following statement and give your reasons behind it.

  • Community help is essential for small businessess


Exercise 4 


Have a discussion on following questions.

  1. Do you like reading?
  2. What is your favourite book?
  3. Do you buy used books?
  4. Do you use the library?
  5. How many books per year do you read?



This lesson is based on a news article originally published by learningenglish.voanews.