About 250 people formed a human chain along a street and lent a hand to help a bookshop move to new premises.
Community-run October Books is moving 150m (492ft) along Southampton's Portswood Road to the old NatWest bank, which it bought with the help of local residents and businesses.
About 2,000 books were passed by hand along the chain to the new space.
Shop volunteer Clare Diaper described the community support for the start of the move on Sunday as "emotional".
About 18,000 books are still to be moved by 30 volunteers before the 40-year-old not-for-profit cooperative reopens on Saturday.
The premises, which cost £330,000 part-funded by local investors, will also include three community rooms, which will be rented out to local organisations and groups.
The first floor will be rented to homeless charity Society of St James in order to provide long-term living space for people who have previously been on the streets.
"I get quite emotional thinking about the amazing people who have come out to support us so far," said Ms Diaper.
"There were local cafe owners, people from the local shops, families and general passers-by, including those who were standing at the bus stop."
The shop was founded in 1977 and has been based on Portswood Road for 15 years.