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Libraries provide creative outlet

Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore. From Scarlet to Canary to Denim to Burnt Umber, there’s a hue fit for everyone and libraries are taking notice of the craze catching the attention of an older generation.

“If the other night is any indicator, it has become a multigenerational program,” says Elizabeth Eisen, adult programming librarian at the Appleton Public Library. Eisen formed the Cocoa and Coloring Nights with Kathleen Hanke, young adult library assistant.

016-PO-coloringThe first Cocoa and Coloring Night gathering, held in November, included 19 people of varying ages. The library is looking at moving the informal activity to a larger room.

Coloring books were purchased through a grant by the Friends of Appleton Public Library. Several books, along with bins of colored pencils and markers are available for patron use. The pages in each book are perforated with one-sided designs that participants can take with them.

“It’s going to be very relaxed,” Eisen says. She adds that coloring can be very therapeutic, healing and offers creative expression while getting back to basics.

“I really think people are looking for things where they can de-stress,” Eisen shares. “Even though the designs are on the paper, every single person did something different with it.”

Eisen and Hanke plan to continue the nights on the second Monday of each month from 6:30-7:30 p.m. with the exception of summer.016-PO-Coloring-Page

Neenah Public Library also is joining in on the fun and will host a Coloring Party on Jan. 26 from 6-8 p.m. called, “Coloring with the Classics.” The evening will combine coloring accompanied by classical piano music from Lawrence University students.

“I think libraries are really going toward creating community spaces,” says Richie Zaborowske, adult reference librarian.

The library also has been experimenting with passive programming on the second floor with tables devoted to puzzles and coloring. A painting party for adults also was held in mid-November.

Zaborowske’s goal is to bring more 20- and 30-somethings to the library, reinforce educational opportunities and build community relationships while asking the question of “What is a library?”

—FC

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