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UK Librarians Record Audiobook for 102-Year-Old Patron

Exterior of Ipswich County Library

Libraries go above and beyond for the communities they serve, providing far more than just free access to books and databases. One powerful recent example: staff at Ipswich County Library in Suffolk, UK recorded their own audiobook version of an out-of-print novel so that a local senior could relive cherished childhood memories.

Like many librarians, Ipswich County Library staff have been placing regular phone calls to members of their communities during the pandemic, providing much-needed companionship in this time of social distancing. During one call with a librarian, 102-year-old Ipswich resident Doris Bugg reminisced about her father reading aloud Portrait of Clare, a 1927 novel by Francis Brett Young.

Library staff hoped to brighten her day by finding an audiobook of the novel for her to reread, but nothing was available. Still, this didn’t stop the librarians from reuniting Bugg with the beloved story; instead, they located a digital copy and have been recording their own audio version.

Staff have been taking turns reading all 873 pages of the book out loud, sharing CDs with the recordings with Bugg along the way.

“The book was important to me because I had a wonderful father who taught me the value of books,” Bugg told BBC News. “I was absolutely amazed at the kindness of them.”

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