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Arts & Life

The power of the handwritten letter

openbooks.jpg
Open Books
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The shelves at Open Books. The Chicago nonprofit is working to improve literacy rates in the city.

In an era when we dash off a quick email or text message or a tweet, and often just as quickly deleted, the magic of a letter is something that has sadly been eclipsed.

The letter: the construction of thoughts, put down on paper, sometimes typed, sometimes hand-written, with a signature that is distinct and personal. It's something that lives on through the years. You just don't get that with a 140-character tweet.

Here's a story that proves that letters can pack incredible power long after they have been written, long after the writers have left this earth.

The story comes out of Troy, in Oakland County.

In 1971, the city was opening its first public library. The youth librarian was Marguerite Hart. She came up with an idea to help celebrate the opening of the library. It involved letters....and some 40 years later, her idea may have helped save the Troy Library.

Phillip Kwik is the Assistant Director of the Troy Public Library, and he joined us to talk about Marguerite's idea.  You can listen to the full audio above.