SARATOGA SPRINGS — We can learn a lot from one another, even if we may never meet. So, what is daily life like for you?
The Saratoga Springs Public Library has launched a project to connect New Yorkers across the diverse state landscape through the act of letter-writing.
The project was inspired by Sue Johnson, who first brought the idea to the Saratoga Springs Public Library a year ago after having participated in a similar program from Oregon Humanities called, “Dear Stranger” - a project which since 2014 has seen almost 1,000 people exchange letters.
Dear New Yorker is a creative writing project that allows people living in and around New York state to create connections through writing letters to other New Yorkers. Saratoga Springs Public Library is the host of the project.
Here’s how it works: Participants pen a letter, send it to the library and then the library will match it and send it off to another letter writer. Volunteers will log and keep track of correspondences, but all participant addresses will be kept confidential and not shared with other participants. The only thing the letter recipient will get is your first name and letter - no contact information.
Participating in the project means someone in the state will receive your letter and you will receive one from someone else. The anonymous exchange provides the opportunity to share experiences about life across many miles.
“What’s a day in the life in your town? What do you like about it? What makes your town unique?” Johnson says. “Our state is so diverse, and in so many ways.”
The project recognizes that a lot can be learned from our neighbors across the state, even if we may never meet one another.
While participants in the project may eventually have the opportunity to exchange addresses, all letters will be exchanged anonymously. “Strictly anonymous, unless the two parties decide they want to carry on and write to each other,” Johnson says. The letters participants receive will come from the library’s address, to ensure participant addresses are kept confidential.
Interested in taking part? Here are some guidelines: include your full name and address on the envelope you send to the library so the library knows who to send a letter back to. Do NOT include your address on the letter itself and please do NOT include offensive language or inappropriate topics. Once you have written your letter, mail the letter to: Saratoga Springs Public Library c/o J. Ogrodowski/Dear NYer, 49 Henry Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.
For more information: https:guides.sspl.org/dearnyer