ShareThis Page

Libraries across Western Pa. offer coloring classes for adults

| Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, 11:30 p.m.
Christa Eastham, 20, of Burgettstown, left, and Vivian Marr, Adult Programming Coordinator, take part in the adult coloring program at Western Allegheny Community Library in Oakdale, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015.
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Christa Eastham, 20, of Burgettstown, left, and Vivian Marr, Adult Programming Coordinator, take part in the adult coloring program at Western Allegheny Community Library in Oakdale, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015.
Books and pencils for the adult coloring program at Western Allegheny Community Library in North Fayette on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015.
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Books and pencils for the adult coloring program at Western Allegheny Community Library in North Fayette on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015.
Vivian Marr, adult programing coordinator, colors in a book during the adult coloring program at Western Allegheny Community Library in North Fayette Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015.
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Vivian Marr, adult programing coordinator, colors in a book during the adult coloring program at Western Allegheny Community Library in North Fayette Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015.
Some coloring books for the adult coloring program at Western Allegheny Community Library in North Fayette Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015.
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Some coloring books for the adult coloring program at Western Allegheny Community Library in North Fayette Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015.
Detail of an adult coloring book at the Western Allegheny Community Library in North Fayette on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015.
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Detail of an adult coloring book at the Western Allegheny Community Library in North Fayette on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015.
Christa Eastham, 20, of Burgettstown, takes part in the adult coloring program at Western Allegheny Community Library in North Fayette on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015.
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Christa Eastham, 20, of Burgettstown, takes part in the adult coloring program at Western Allegheny Community Library in North Fayette on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015.
A design in one of the adult coloring books at the Western Allegheny Community Library Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015.
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
A design in one of the adult coloring books at the Western Allegheny Community Library Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015.

Vivian Marr chose a bright yellow pencil for her picture of garden flowers, while Christa Eastham picked a lavender pencil for the delicate wings of a butterfly.

Both were coloring intricate pictures in coloring books this month at Western Allegheny Community Library in North Fayette. Marr is 49 and a grandmother; Eastham, of Burgettstown, is 20 and a college student in Steubenville, Ohio. Coloring is a hobby they pursue at monthly library coloring sessions and at home.

“When my husband has something really stupid on television and I don't feel like reading, I drag out my bag and color,” said Marr, adult programming coordinator for the library. “It's relaxing and calming and there's no brain activity.”

“It's nice to do it before bed,” said Eastham, adding she has been “coloring since I was able to.”

She saves some of her finished work for posting around her home, including on the refrigerator. Marr, though, has been known to toss her finished pages in the recycle bin.

Staff of local libraries have noticed the adult coloring trend and are striving to help patrons follow their coloring bliss. Several libraries have either already begun coloring programs, or are in the process of starting them.

Sewickley Public Library offered its first session Monday; Bethel Park's coloring program will begin in December. Art sessions that began several years ago at Avalon Public Library as a weekly program meant for ages 11 to 14, have morphed into sessions for adults. Some children have participated with their grandparents. They talk about art, and some are gifted artists; Rania Sullivan, library director, has ordered coloring books for those who might not be as artistic.

Sewickley web services librarian Meghan Snatchko said she was aiming at an older-adult demographic by scheduling the monthly coloring sessions at 1 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month, though that time might have to be adjusted.

By planning the coloring program, Snatchko was aiming to serve “people who may be kind of creative, and they don't have another outlet. You can interact if you want, or you don't have to interact,” she said.

Bethel Park Public Library plans to offer coloring for adults beginning Dec. 17.

“We're excited about this,” said Bethel Park library executive director Christine McIntosh. “I find it's very stress-relieving.”

McIntosh, who has been “coloring for years,” plans to “be there coloring, too.”

“It's important for adults to have an opportunity to let the world go,” she said. “Coloring for adults is a way for the library to support health and literacy, as research indicates that coloring de-stresses and lessens anxiety.

“Coloring also exercises fine motor skills and centers the brain, having a calming effect similar to yoga.”

But Kathy Amrhein, branch manager of Sharpsburg Community Library, said the eight to 10 adults who color on Thursday evenings have simply told her “it sounded like fun.” The Sharpsburg group began meeting last month.

Among favored coloring books are those by Scottish artist Johanna Basford, whose botanical “Enchanted Forest” became a New York Times bestseller; Marr used Basford's “Secret Garden” as her coloring book at a recent coloring session. Retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Wal-Mart now stock coloring books for adults with the tiny detailed line drawings. Basford also offered an artist's edition of “Secret Garden” with 20 pullout prints from the original book, printed single-side on card stock suitable for framing.

Books cost $6 to more than $20; some designs are available free online and can be printed.

Mark Elliott, district manager for Barnes & Noble in Pittsburgh, Erie and Cleveland, said the chain's adult coloring books started off as “a small movement in the spring,” with one display at the end of an aisle. But after a national morning show segment on the coloring books for adults, sales grew to become a phenomenon. Now, they have their own section, and millions of books have been sold nationwide.

“The buyers went out and made sure we can stay in stock for the holidays,” he said.

Sandra Fischione Donovan is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.