By Dave Russell
The Jackson County Public Library invites the community to step back from digital communication and write real letters. Snail mail. On stationery. The kind that uses envelopes and pens.
The Library last week launched The Library Letters Exchange for Jackson County residents to exchange letters with pen-pals from the Poughkeepsie Public Library in Poughkeepsie, New York.
“It’s kind of old-fashioned, kind of brings back the art of communication,” said Cori Horton, a library assistant working in Adult Services.
It’s not a national program, but it is a national trend.
“It has come up in different forms in different libraries,” she said. “A lot of libraries are organizing letter exchanges between children and people in nursing homes, for example. But I figured that since this is a small town anyway and everybody probably knows each other, we wanted to do something a little bit different. I paired up with a library in New York that is about the same size as us with a similar demographic.”
The minimum age is 18 to participate, Horton said.
“There are going to be the same amount of signups at both libraries and then we’re going to match everybody once they are signed up,” she said. “It’s going to be randomly matched. We thought it would be more fun that way.”
Signups will run from now until Jan. 16.
“We are running a waiting list, so if there are any stragglers, they are still welcome to call,” Horton said. “The first letter would be due on Jan. 22. All the letter writers have to do is drop it off at the Library and we take care of everything else. You don’t have to pay for postage, and you get cool stationery. The kit comes with stickers to jazz it up a little bit.”
People who have messy handwriting or just prefer to use a typewriter or computer can do so, she said.
To protect privacy, giving out a mailing address is not necessary.
“If the program goes well, we’d like to do an international exchange in the future,” Horton said.
Anyone interested can call 586-2016 or go to the Library to register.