university, library, academic library, higher education, adult coloring, outreach


An activity often reserved for children, coloring books for adults rose from hipster trend to global phenomenon beginning in 2013. Adults flocked to the activity for a variety of reasons, including stress relief, socialization, a way to unplug from technology or even as a way to gain social status by appearing trendy. Participants reported enjoying the tactile, interactive nature of the books as a respite from constant screen time. Coloring books became big business for craft suppliers and bookstores by 2015. Coloring books shot to the top of the Best Sellers list on Amazon and were prominently displayed in book and craft stores. Titles with colorful mandalas, abstract designs, flora and fauna, fantasy characters, and intricate patterns took over prominent endcap and best-seller displays. Librarians responded enthusiastically to the adult coloring trend by offering programming that attracts a wide age range of patrons. Public libraries across the United States started offering monthly coloring programs and some even hosted coloring clubs that meet regularly. In early summer 2015, a local newspaper reported on adults in the Omaha-metro area joining in on the coloring fun. While a student coloring club formed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the fall, no such organization existed the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). Capitalizing on the growing adult coloring trend and local interest, Criss Library held several events entitled “Color Me Calm” during the 2015-2016 academic year, both independently and during an campus-wide event known as “De-Stress Fest.” A brief history of the adult coloring trend, the organization, and assessment of the events are shared as well as campus partnerships that were formed and recommendations for future events.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


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