LetterMo Social Media

[Guest Post] LetterMo Goes to University

Today’s guest blogger is LetterMo community member Susan, who is (in absolutely no particular order) a science librarian, a mum, a knitter, a baker & bread-eater, a stationary hoarder, a wife, gardener, and formerly-bendy yoga participant who still is giving it her best shot.

It was a Goulet Pens email that first caught my eye–a message about stationary (for which I am a total sucker) and matching envelopes, and a note on how these items were currently available for sale “…just in time for InCoWriMo!”

I had never heard of InCoWriMo, so I did what any fountain-pen and stationary obsessed librarian does–I Googled it. When I read all about InCoWriMo, and next about LetterMo, I was totally hooked–I love to write letters, I have a ton of vintage fountain pens that I love to use, lots of pretty coloured inks, and a veritable overstuffed shelf of cards and writing paper/envelopes that I could use. The question wasn’t if I was going to participate in LetterMo, the question was HOW was I going to do so?

If I chose to simply write my own letters that would be fantastic in and of itself–a fun thing for me to do all on my own. But my job as an academic librarian at a very accepting and open-to-new-ideas library means that I can frequently blur the line between what I want to do for myself, and what I can do in my office and count it as “work”. I put on my thinking cap and started pondering–and didn’t immediately come up with any ideas. It wasn’t until a day or two later while talking to my art librarian colleague that I mentioned my interest in LetterMo–and casually let drop that my initial interest in writing letters was spurred on by the Griffin and Sabine books by the amazing author/illustrator Nick Bantock.

Now, my colleague, being a good 10 years younger than me, had never heard of Griffin and Sabine before, which in my mind was a true travesty! We consulted our library catalog and much to my delight and amazement despite this being an academic library, we had all three volumes of the first Griffin and Sabine trilogy.

As I was walking to the second floor to pull the books to show her, the idea suddenly occurred to me: what if for every day in February, I was to not only write and post a letter, but to also call attention to a ‘famous’ letter found in one of our library books? I could write up a daily post on the library’s Tumblr account, and post pictures, include links to the library catalog records for that book, etc. And all of a sudden, that was it. I could write my letters and make the whole endeavor academic at the same time–highlighting various titles in our library collection and bringing our student’s attention to some (hopefully) new authors they had never seen or read before.

LetterMo Social Media

February is just about halfway over, and so far I have been able–by the skin of my teeth!–to keep up. Every day, I have posted about a ‘Book of Letters’, and included various pictures of the book’s cover or title page, and a snapshot of a portion of the letter itself. I have also written and mailed at least one letter every day, and likewise through our social media outlets have included snapshots of each letter, envelope, stamps, stickers, or wax seal–depending on what each letter does or doesn’t have and what I think folks might like to see the best.

I have also written and mailed at least one letter every day

I daily put up tweets on the library’s Twitter account highlighting whatever has been detailed on that day, and also have been adding several pictures to the library’s Instagram page on a daily basis as well.

Instagram LikesWhile I cannot yet say for certain that I have inspired dozens of our students to begin writing letters, I can happily say that the response (at least via our Instagram site) has been extremely positive and gratifying. Every day the Instagram account gets upwards of 25 ‘likes’ from a wide variety of folks, and we have been averaging 1-2 new followers every day since February 1st. Official student groups have started to follow us, the Chief of Police of our town regularly likes our photos, and libraries from all over the world have been giving us a virtual thumbs-up.

When February is finally over, and March 1st rolls around I am not too sure what I will do. Survey our students to see how many actually saw and/or read the posts? Ask via Instagram if folks would like to see this again in 2017? Ask if anyone out there would like to write to me c/o the library? I haven’t yet decided what will be the best to do, but already know for certain that LetterMo2016 has been an extremely fun and gratifying event–and that even if I don’t do it in the guise of work next time around, I’ll be participating in LetterMo2017 for sure!

(After all, I did give in and bought new writing paper, envelopes, stickers, and wax seal stamps for the project, so it isn’t like I will run out of fun supplies anytime soon!)

If anyone is interested in following along for the rest of the month, follow my library’s Tumblr account and our Instagram photo feed. If you feel so inspired, please do join us–the more, the merrier!

Feathers WaxSeals


21 thoughts on “[Wayback Repost] Why do letters seem more daunting than email?”

  1. Having been a letter writer for several years now, I don’t particularly find this challenge all that difficult, other than remembering to do it every day instead of when the whim takes me to write. And since I may not have a penpal’s letter to answer, then I need to think outside my normal circle of penpals and write to others. I saw this as an opportunity to reconnect with a few old penpals that had lapsed, family members that live outside of the city, friends I haven’t seen in a while, and strangers or persons of stature. I think it’s a great challenge and maybe it will even boost the joy of those who process all this mail and deliver it to us. 🙂

  2. I love your post. And I totally agree.

    Email, tweets n twitters, FB comments all have their place and moment in time where they are the appropriate way to respond.

    However, sending a letter, postcard, or notecard is the only way to connect with someone on a more personal, even intimate, level.

    The act of sending a missive does take time, but more importantly it takes thought. What paper will I use? What will I add (stickers, washi, etc.)? What will I say? Combined these choices will be a bright spot in someone’s day. Added bonus? It was created specifically for them.

  3. Great article on postcard apps but you should also take a look at Postsnap’s easy to use postcard app.
    The app offers a number of unique features compared to the other apps reviewed including:
    – Guest checkout with Apple Pay
    – Extensive personalization options including collage layouts, stylish borders which can be adjusted in size with a slider and the option to add editable text in a variety of font types and colors and position it anywhere on the cards
    – iPhone and iPad support
    – Apple Pencil support
    – Facebook and Instagram integration
    – US postal address verification and UK postcode lookup
    Cards are printed and posted in our facilities in the UK, USA and Australia on the same or next working day and so cards typically arrive quickly. Enjoy!
    Stephen Homer

  4. I have been writing letters for several years now. My go to paper is Rhodia Premium or Rhodia Ice pads. I also Life pads too. I like them because they are not quite as slick as the Rhodia.

  5. I love Tomoe River paper for letter writing. I buy 100 sheets at a time and print my own mermaid stationery. I found an envelope that I like and ordered a mermaid address stamp and finish it off with mermaid washi tape.

  6. I too love journals to pull apart for writing. For me the most important aspect of the paper is the pattern. I love to have some colour and some design on the paper. I’ve managed to find a number of nice colours and designs at one of my local “Home Sense” discount stores in the book section. Most of the small journals are a perfect size to fit in the envelopes I use. If not I just give one edge a bit of a trim (but sometimes I really like the ripped edge look too!) ;P

  7. Hi, Christmas cards & more recently a letter (a bill) from the UK to Australia have taken 3 weeks to arrive. The exterior of these envelopes were stamped with a mark such as this from the latest envelope:
    DLC 992-4
    The example quoted arrived at the Australian address on 28/07/2017, unfortunately it contained a bill dated 06/07/2017 which had to be paid within 14 days, by 20/07/2017.
    Why is the post so slow? What does the DLC 992-4 stamp signify? Would appreciate your feedback.

  8. My letter that I wrote was in September. The person who it was for still hasn’t gotten it and it’s now November….
    I don’t understand why it’s taking this long. I live in AZ and he lives in NY. I want answers.

Leave a Reply