Coloring Club Programs for Adults

ImageColoring books for adults are a new hot trend, and are fast becoming popular programs at libraries. In the WebJunction article Adult Coloring Explosion, Jennifer Peterson writes:

Coloring has to be the easiest, most affordable, and least stressful library program out there. But for those of you looking for a reason to begin an adult coloring program at your library, or who need to justify your reasoning with leadership, we've seen a number of libraries see this as a way to support health literacy, pointing to research that indicates that coloring de-stresses and lessens anxiety in adults, and can be especially beneficial to people with brain damage or dementia.

If you want inspiration for holding a coloring program at your library, take a look at some local examples:

  • The Colouring Club happens every 2nd & 4th Saturday at Caestecker Public Library in Green Lake
  • Color & Chill is a monthly event at Princeton Public Library
  • Coloring With the Classics at the Neenah Public Library is planning a special event on January 26th where you can "relax and flex your artistic muscles as you listen to a piano performance by students from Lawrence University."

Want to do this at your library, too? Get your free downloadable coloring pages here:

Unsure what to call your event?  Here are ideas gathered at the Programming Librarian Interest Group:

  • Color Your Cares Away
  • Color Me Happy and Color Me Calm
  • Outside the Box, Inside the Lines
  • Coffee & Coloring
  • Beyond Crayons
  • Coloring & Conversation
  • or ask your patrons to name it!

Marketing idea: post photos of finished artwork on your library's Facebook page or Instagram account, which will help publicize the program when you offer it again.

Information about coloring programs for adults was requested on the WisPubLib discussion list, and Erin Foley from Adams County Library responded with this success story:

Adams County Library held one adult coloring program in November, the first of three scheduled.  This note is based on that one event.

We advertised it as once-a-month for three months, Friday afternoons, 1-3 pm.  The afternoon was selected because it's hard to get adults out after dark in the winter.  We did have cookies, coffee, and water for free, and a variety of coloring sheets downloaded from the internet.  We purchased cheap colored pencil sets--only 8 colors per set, purchased for 78 cents each at a hobby store.

Turnout for that first meeting was AMAZING.  People started calling that morning to make sure they were on the list (we asked for RSVPs so we were sure we'd have enough space/supplies).  Many arrived 30 minutes early to make sure they got in.  We had more than 50 reservations, and 44 people in the room the last time I counted, but there were many people who dropped in and out so we may have had more then 50 total at various times during the afternoon.  

We planned to have light classical music in the background, but our machine didn't work.  That didn't seem to matter.  There was a constant flow of conversation at the different tables where people seated themselves.  We did have cookies, coffee and water for free, which people appreciated. 

And that was about all.  Staff members came and went to see how things were going.  I made several trips to get more of one particular coloring sheet (owls were very popular for some reason), but people worked on all sorts of pages--landscapes, mandalas, historic costumes, Fall-themed pages, animals.  Attendance was about 1/4 male, 3/4 female.  Ages ranged from 20-somethings all the way to 80-somethings, but averaged about 60 or 65 years old, best guess.

We had requests to take the pencils home, but said no.  We do plan to put out sheets for daily use, but that hasn't started yet.  The coloring pencils are problematic to keep sharp--the soft lead makes them good for shading, but horrendous to sharpen (so much for that volunteer task).  We had good numbers in the library all afternoon that day, especially afterwards when a crowd stopped by to make sure they were on the RSVP list for the next meeting.

Staff loved it.  Easy to set up, easy to run, and just a pleasant 2 hours.

Image credit: Caestecker Public Library's Facebook page