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Letter Writing Conveys Care And Love, Resurrects A Nearly Lost Art

The shoebox full of old letters threatens to become a thing of the past. With email, texting, and cell phones offering unlimited long-distance calling, communication comes more easily these days.

But letter writing still has its advocates. And those advocates have their own month. April is National Letter Writing Month, an event started by the U.S. Postal Service and picked up by stationers. One of them is Egg Press, who donated correspondence kits to the Rapid City Public Library.

Several women gathered this week to pick up kits and begin the challenge of writing 30 letters in a month. They were there for various reasons: one elderly woman wants to send a letter a day to a friend who will soon die. Others want to let friends and relatives know they're loved and appreciated.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks spoke with some of those women, as well as with her uncle and aunt, who carried out their courtship by mail.

Rapid City Public Library Plans Letter-Writing Events

The library kicked off the month with a group write-in Monday evening, when participants, all women, gathered to pick up letter-writing packets and get started writing 30 letters in 30 days.

"We actually built a majority of our programming around letter writing, which is just the coolest thing to me," said Janet Parr, programming librarian. "We have two other programs later this month. The Cook the Book program--we worked that around a cookbook that has recipes inspired by Jane Austen's letters."

The other program is a book club discussion of I Will Always Write Back, a book of correspondence between two pen pals from the U.S. and Zimbabwe that spanned six years.

Young people have an opportunity to write letters at a drop-in letter-writing lounge on the library's second floor. That area features two typewriters, one manual and one electric, and stationery, stamps, and lessons in calligraphy.

Rapid City freelancer Victoria L. Wicks has been producing news for SDPB since August 2007. She Retired from this position in March 2023.