Alex Halpern, a librarian in training, became Twitter famous after responding passionately to a comment from New York Observer columnist Andrew Walker to close public libraries. (Elyse Samuels/The Washington Post)

Student librarian Alex Halpern is just an ordinary guy who really loves books, and libraries.

So the Portland, Ore., resident was surprised by the attention, and thousands of followers, that an Oct. 23 Twitter rant earned him.

“I’m excited to kind of be a voice for public libraries,” Halpern said.

It started when New York Observer columnist Andre Walker called for the closing of all public libraries.

Enraged by this suggestion, Halpern hit back with an impassioned pro-library argument that eventually went viral.

Halpern was surprised at the mostly positive attention he received in response to his tweets, and his more than 15,000 new Twitter followers.

Ultimately, Walker conceded and admitted libraries were more popular than he thought, even retweeting Halpern’s plea for donations to a library scholarship fund.

Halpern says he feels validated by the outpouring of support for libraries.

“Some of the best people on Earth that I know are librarians, and they’re doing amazing work, building communities and helping people in need. I think they should be recognized more for that.”