I’m looking to find libraries from around the country who are interested in participating in a pen pal situation with my library, the Windsor Public Library in Windsor, CT. I’ve reached out to librarians I know and have had a few friends suggest their local librarians, I’m excited to see how wide a range we can get.
The idea behind the program was to get our patrons to draw pictures and write letters that can be sent to another children’s department somewhere in the U.S. My initial thoughts were not to necessarily have a one-on-one exchange, but for kids to tell each other about what it’s like where they live, tell each other about what they like and draw pictures to be passed on to another Children’s Department. In the case of my library I have a bulletin board space where I could hang the letters and pictures we receive and place a card box for them to place the letters/cards/pictures they want to send. I could periodically gather those items and send them off.
I think there is an option for children who want to participate in a more direct exchange, but this would involve signing up, parent permission and ultimately there’s the risk that the patron on one end would fall out of interest and stop responding. This is why I think the more passive program option is best, it allows for one-off participation but might also encourage certain children to participate every time they visit.
For those libraries that are doing the Build A Better World summer reading theme this ties in nicely as a program but for those who are not, I think it still nicely fits the core values of librarianship and it presents a great opportunity for children who have not yet or might never see beyond their own community.
Let me know if you’re interested in participating, or have any questions!
Head of Children’s Services
Windsor Public Library