A beloved employee of the Linda Sokol Francis Brookfield Library died Thursday after suffering a heart attack while he was at work at the library.
Circulation assistant Arthur Williams, 52, was working in the book return work room when he had a heart attack at about 1 p.m.
He was transported to Loyola Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. The library closed early at 6 p.m. Thursday and was closed Friday as his coworkers struggled to cope with William’s sudden death.
On Friday morning, library employees met at the library to share memories of their beloved co-worker. Grief therapists will be on hand at the library Saturday morning for staff to meet with before the library opens at 10 a.m.
“Everyone is pretty shaken up,” said Kimberly Coughran, the Executive Director of the Linda Sokol Francis Brookfield Library.
Williams, who had worked at Linda Sokol Francis Brookfield Library since 2018, was popular with his co-workers and library patrons. He was known for his ever-present smile and easy laugh.
“He was just such a bright light,” said Susan Casey, a former youth services librarian at the library. “We all loved him.”
Williams loved to talk to patrons and patrons would often look for him when they came to the library.
“He talked to people when they checked out books,” Casey said. “He had just the kindest heart. He was someone you would want to be the face of the library, period.”
Williams’s jovial presence boosted his co-workers spirits when they were having bad days. Williams never seemed to have a bad day and always had a sunny disposition and a ready smile.
He was especially popular with senior citizens.
“They loved him,” Casey said.
Williams was known by his co-workers for his healthy eating, always munching on radishes and carrots and drinking green tea. He was passionate about food and often exchanged recipes with co-workers and library patrons.
“Healthiest person I know, chopping vegetables in our staff break room every day,” Coughran, said in a text message.
Williams enjoyed watching television crime dramas, such as “Criminal Minds,” and was a fan of the singer Luther Vandross.
Williams, who lived in Maywood, had worked in libraries for much of his entire adult life. Before coming to the Linda Sokol Francis Brookfield Library, he had worked at the Maywood one for more than 20 years and also had worked for the Bellwood Public Library.
“Arthur could not help but shine,” Coughran wrote in an email she sent notifying library staff and supporters about Williams’s death. “He loved libraries and much like many of us, it was the only work he knew. And as we all know, he loved being forefront and served Brookfielders and others with incredible enthusiasm.”
Coughran was not at the library when Williams died because she was in Springfield where State Rep. Abdelnasser Rashid had a proclamation approved honoring Dianne Duner, the long-serving member of the board of the Brookfield Library who died earlier this year.