Thursday, January 14, 2016

They’re Doing What at the Library?!

photo of adults coloring at library program; credit abc33/
Photo credit: abc33/ "Adult coloring workshops bring a sense of calm to Central Alabamians"

I have to admit, the first time I heard about the coloring for adults program at the library, I was a little…taken aback. What on earth does a room full of adults sitting around coloring have to do with libraries?

Then I started reading up on it and quickly realized that the benefits of adults spending some downtime coloring (or doing crafts) are so numerous and varied that it fits perfectly with the library’s mission of providing the highest quality library service to the community for lifelong learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment. I used the library periodical databases to find studies and research that showed that coloring can be a simple form of art therapy, improve memory, and participants were less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment if they colored regularly. Not only that, but the act of socializing with other adults also improves memory and cognitive functioning, and reduces high blood pressure and depression.* That’s useful information that our community needs!

By providing our patrons with opportunities to gather together, meet new folks, enjoy light refreshments and soft music in a safe setting, as well as providing the materials needed, we give everyone in our community the chance to relax, de-stress, connect with their community, and reap all the benefits offered by the session. People who don’t know all the great things available at our libraries have an opportunity to come in and see for themselves that we have the popular reading and reference sources we’ve always offered, as well as friendly and knowledgeable staff to assist them. That’s one of the greatest things about the library—everyone is welcome, regardless of socio-economic status, age, gender, race, or nationality, and almost all of it is free. It’s a chance to meet people in your community you might miss in other avenues of your life. You can also find out what’s going on in your community at your local library, so if you want to get involved in new activities, check out local opportunities here. With free computer access (including Wi-Fi  if you have your own device) you can apply for a job, research your family tree, connect with family and friends through e-mail, update your Facebook page, write your novel (all your research materials are right there, after all), or price check items online.

Come visit your local library and meet your neighbors and your librarians. Give yourself a break from the chaos and pick up a book or DVD, participate in a craft program, attend a lecture, or get the answer to almost any question you have. Librarians may not know the answer, but they probably know where to look to find it—and there’s no charge for reference answers! Come test our information professionals and see what the 21st century library has to offer. If you got a new coloring book for Christmas, you can bring it along for one of the coloring for adults sessions—but we’ll always have what you need on hand.

(*Sifferlin A. "The Health Perks of Arts and Crafts for Adults." Time.Com [serial online]. April 9, 2015;:N.PAG. Available from: Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed January 9, 2016.)

Kelly Laney
Springville Road Regional Branch Library

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