Librarians Record Audiobook for 102-Year-Old Patron

There is still good in this world, as it turns out. Doris Bugg, a 102-year-old woman living in Ipswich, Suffolk, experienced some of it recently.

Bugg had visited her town library regularly in person until a few years ago, and she still borrows audiobooks from their collection. She is an important member of the library community, and has made friends with the library staff. They continued to call to check on her and to chat even after she stopped visiting in person.

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It was through these calls that the library staff heard Bugg reminisce over the novel Portrait of Clare, published in 1927 by Francis Brett Young. The novel follows Claerwen Lydiatt, who after her mother’s death and her father’s remarriage, is sent to live with her distant and disapproving  grandfather and aunt. Clare struggles to find happiness in the drama that is her life.


Bugg’s father read Portrait of Clare to his daughter when she was a little girl. “The book was important to me because I had a wonderful father who taught me the value of books,” Bugg said. Bugg wanted to reread Portrait of Clare and reminisce over it, but the book was out-of-print at Ipswich Public Library.

The librarians weren’t going to let that stop them from fulfilling Bugg’s wish though. They bought an online copy of the book with their own money and began recording all 873 pages into an audiobook just for her.

Image via the BBC

Krystal Vitties, the head of service delivery at Suffolk Libraries, said that “[her] heart just wants to burst” and that “they were just so self-deprecating about it as to them it’s no big deal, it’s just what they do.” After hearing about this, Vitties bought Bugg a copy of the 1950 film adaptation of Portrait of Clare.

Bugg was very touched. She said, “I was absolutely amazed at the kindness of them.” This small act of kindness is such a heart-warming gesture and a beautiful story about good people helping others.

Featured image via Ipswich Local News