Librarian praised after helping elderly woman look up obituaries for her friends: ‘She cried. I cried’

·3-min read
Librarian reveals he helped elderly woman look up obituaries for her friends (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Librarian reveals he helped elderly woman look up obituaries for her friends (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A librarian has recounted a heartbreaking story about helping an elderly woman look up the obituaries of her friends.

Eddie Kristan, a librarian who works at the Warren-Newport Public Library in Illinois and known as Eddie the Giant Librarian on social media, shared the encounter in a tweet posted on Friday.

In the post, Kristan said that he had been working at the library when he received a call from an elderly woman who didn’t have access to the internet. According to the librarian, the woman had called because she wanted help looking up obituaries for her high school friends, as she hadn’t heard from many of them in a while.

“I had an elderly patron call who didn’t have internet and ask me to look up some obituaries because she hadn’t heard from her gang of high school friends for a while,” he wrote. “I found them all. She cried. I cried. I hope I handled it gently enough for her.”

In a follow-up tweet, Kristan said he spoke with the woman after he shared the news, and offered to print out the obituaries for her friends.

“I talked to her for a bit and told her to come into the library and I’d print the tributes out for her or I can mail them to her. She had me read a few to her. It’s a really sh*t time to feel so lonely,” he continued.

The librarian’s tweet has since been liked more than 209,000 times, with hundreds of people thanking Kristan for the sympathetic way he handled the devastating phone call.

“Your compassion and empathy is amazing. Thank you for all that you do, and I hope you have a good support system on days like this, too,” one person wrote.

Another said: “That was so kind. Librarians are the best people.”

“Thank you for showing her compassion and kindness. Public librarians and library staff are so undervalued,” someone else wrote.

According to another individual, Kristan’s “service” to the woman was one of the “kindest” stories they’d ever read. “Thank you for sharing it with us,” they added.

Speaking to the Library Journal in 2020, Kristan reflected on his own relationship with the Warren-Newport Public Library, which he said provided him with “books and a safe place to read and watch media” while he was homeschooled growing up nearby.

As the security supervisor for WNPL, Kristan told the outlet that he has made it his mission to ensure the library is a “community centre for any and all information needs”.

According to Kristan, this means helping anyone who wants to use the library, whatever their needs may be.

“If somebody needs to use a speakerphone because they’re hard of hearing, you can get them to a private study room or the vending area or the lobby instead of just shutting them down,” he told the outlet. “I’m approaching this person to facilitate [their needs]”.

Kristan also told the outlet that he loves his job and that the people who work in and come to the library are his “family”.

In a tweet shared after his story went viral, Kristan expressed his appreciation for all the love and new followers, before encouraging people to “fight censorship and be excellent to each other”.

The Independent has contacted Kristan for comment.

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