The programme, a partnership between Wellington City Libraries (WCL) and a cluster of libraries across the state of Delaware, USA, came about through a chance email exchange.
Tess Mehonoshen, Library Specialist at WCL, was contacted by a librarian in Delaware with an unrelated query. The two developed a plan together and after working out a few logistics, launched the programme in May 2023.
It has proven to be really popular with Wellingtonians, says Tess, who has a few ideas about why that might be. Over 240 children and adults have signed up so far to take part, a number which exceeded expectations.
“We’ve gotten a lot of really nice feedback. People of all ages are super enthusiastic and excited to write letters, which is so lovely to see, both here and in Delaware.”
With the fast pace of life these days and the pressure that pace can create, the slowness of writing and waiting for a letter feels like a welcome antidote, says Tess.
“I was quite surprised that we got a lot of people in their 20s and 30s. It’s something you did a bit as a kid, but you never get around to do it anymore. People love having to slow down and that there’s no pressure to reply straight away.”
Tess believes it gives a little taste of how life used to be before we had technology at our fingertips.
“It makes you think, wow, people had to communicate like this all the time. Imagine having to wait a month to get a reply.”