Charmain Osborne Image copyright Charmain Osborne
Image caption Ipswich library’s manager Charmain Osborne is among several librarians who have read out excerpts of Portrait of Clare

Librarians are recording an audiobook for a 102-year-old woman so she can again enjoy a story read to her decades ago by her “wonderful” father.

Doris Bugg wanted to reminisce with the 1927 novel Portrait of Clare, but the out-of-print book was unavailable at her library in Ipswich, Suffolk.

Touched by her memories, librarians bought a copy for her online and are reading all 873 pages, recorded on CDs.

“I was absolutely amazed at the kindness of them,” said Mrs Bugg.

Mrs Bugg regularly visited the town centre library in person until about a couple of years ago and continues to borrow audiobooks.

During lockdown she has received regular phone calls from library staff checking on her welfare and to chat, which is how they heard about the book, which was the first one she got from the library.

“The book was important to me because I had a wonderful father who taught me the value of books,” said Mrs Bugg.

“They [staff] found the book and that was when they suggested they read it out loud and record it for me.”

Image copyright Google
Image caption Staff at Ipswich’s town centre library on Northgate Street know Mrs Bugg from her years as a regular visitor and borrower of books and audiobooks

The novel is split into seven books, with three recorded so far.

Library manager Charmain Osborne said it was “really heartwarming” to be able to help.

Krystal Vittles, head of service delivery at Suffolk Libraries, tweeted about the gesture, saying “my heart wants to burst”.

She added: “It’s just so wonderful they found the book – they bought it with their own money.

“They were so self-deprecating about it as to them it’s no big deal, it’s just what they do.”

The romantic family saga was described by Ms Vittles as “very much of its time”.

Inspired by her colleagues’ kindness, Ms Vittles said she had just bought Mrs Bugg a copy of Portrait of Clare, a 1950 film, for her to enjoy.

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