12 Tips for a Killer Coloring Program in Your Library

Color pencilsWhat do you do when life has you stressed? Pick up your crayons and color, of course!

Many grown-ups are finding out what kids have known for years: coloring provides a relaxing, stress-relieving pastime — and it’s fun! The trend is on the rise, with intricate coloring books populating bestseller lists and coloring communities popping up on social networks.

Art fans are taking their hobby offline as well, hosting coloring parties that serve as a chance to unplug and relax with fellow enthusiasts. And what better place to throw a party and celebrate a new hobby than the library?

Still not sure your community members will be hooked on coloring? Sharpen your pencils and try your hand on a few coloring pages yourself. Then (if you’re not so relaxed that you’re seeking a quiet place to take a nap afterward) read the tips below to help you plan your coloring program or adapt one you’re already running.

Tips for Hosting a Successful Coloring Program

  1. Consider making your program intergenerational, inviting adults to bring their kids or grandkids for some screen-free time. Have both adult and children’s coloring pages available, as well as crayons and colored pencils.
  2. If you decide to limit the program to adults, advertise it as Coloring Therapy and play relaxing music while participants de-stress. Promote the wellness benefits of coloring, such as taking time out from daily stressors, reducing anxiety and promoting meditation—all proven to reduce the mental and physical impacts of stress.
  3. Share some of the intricate coloring pages you’ll provide during the program on your promotional materials so adults can see the appeal of the designs.
  4. Have a variety of designs for participants to choose from, and, if possible, provide artist-quality colored pencils.
  5. To prevent colored pencils from rolling, contain them in multiple baskets around the room. Don’t forget the sharpeners — everybody loves a freshly sharpened pencil!
  6. Make the program into a series, and combine it with a gripping audio book or podcast. The stress-relief combined with the hook of hearing the next chapter will keep participants coming back for more.
  7. Host a parallel teen program that features an audio book, or encourage teens to bring iPods and ear buds to listen to their own music.
  8. Create a display of drawing books and videos that might further interest patrons, including how to draw Zentangle and mandalas. Include this in your coloring program, or create a passive display with coloring sheets and colored pencils.
  9. For those in a school setting: make coloring a part of open houses or parent-teacher conferences. Give parents and students a chance to sit, relax and enjoy coloring together in the library. Create a display for their creations, and encourage them to take home pages to continue coloring together.
  10. Take your program on the road! Brainstorm local organizations that could benefit from an outreach coloring therapy program, such as children’s hospitals, assisted living homes, senior centers and shelters.
  11. Consider providing large, easy-grip colored pencils for adults with arthritis or participants with fine-motor difficulties.
  12. Solicit feedback from participants, including requests for audio books, coloring themes and days and times that work best with busy schedules.

color_contestHave you hosted an adult coloring program or are you thinking about starting one? Do you have any favorite coloring books or tips to share with your colleagues? Send us your thoughts in the form below for a chance to win a free pack of Color Craze Bookmarks and Mini Posters from Upstart! Three lucky winners will be randomly chosen on March 18. Until then, keep calm and color on!

UPDATE: Check out this post to find out who the lucky winners were and download The Librarian’s Ultimate Guide to Coloring Programs!


Liz Bowie

Liz Bowie

Marketing Content Manager at Demco, Inc.
Liz is the Marketing Content Manager for Demco. Her background includes editorial management and product development of innovative and time-saving tools for schools and libraries, with an emphasis on Common Core, literacy and math. The products she and her team have developed, including classroom games, learning centers and professional development resources, have garnered 46 industry awards for excellence in education. Liz is passionate about promoting literacy through her work and the work of others. If you are interested in sharing your ideas and programming tips on Demco’s Ideas and Inspiration blog or have ideas for topics you’d like to see covered, contact Liz at lizb@demco.com