Young Adult





Inside the Lines Coloring Club

When I walked through the library doors one Saturday, I was surprised to see 22 patrons ready for the second Inside the Lines adult coloring club — nearly triple the size of our first coloring program in December. The participants were from all walks of life and ranged from professionals and home-schooled students to homeless patrons and teenagers. One man in his 80s even brought his own coloring books and electric pencil sharpener! Our coloring club was full of conversation as patrons drew, snacked on cookies and discussed what they wanted to do at next month’s meeting.

Advanced Planning

After my daughter told me about the rising popularity of adult coloring, I decided to investigate it myself. Facebook groups such as ALA Think Tank and the Programming Librarian Interest Group gave helpful tips on hosting adult coloring programs. We decided to hold the program on Saturday afternoons so professionals could attend.

I prepared for the program by printing free, reproducible coloring materials from Dover, and I kept master copies of each picture in case we ran out during the program. I ordered typical art supplies such as pencils, sharpeners, markers and crayons from Amazon, but I also purchased some art tools that not everyone is familiar with, such as blending and erasing pencils, so patrons could experiment. Lastly, we bought cookies, hot chocolate and tea bags.


We started publicizing the program about one month in advance. Our children’s librarian created a flier (View the club flier under Attachments at right.), and I printed 25 copies to post on the library bulletin board and to leave by the circulation desk, while our PR person sent them to online community bulletin boards and the radio station. I also posted the flier to our library’s Facebook page and website.


We probably spent less than $100 on the art supplies, coloring books and snacks. I’ll spend another $20 on restocking the art supplies when it gets low. A lot of patrons brought their own supplies, but I never want them to feel like they have to. 

Day-of-event Activity

On Saturday, I laid out the supplies on the conference room table. When I prepped the room for our first club meeting, I didn’t take the pencils and crayons out of the boxes, which made people feel like they had to put the supplies back in a proper place. For the second program, I placed the art materials in glasses so patrons could take and choose what they wanted without feeling pressured to put it back in its place. Along with the free printed coloring sheets, I also brought coloring books that the library has in its circulation so club members could pick what they wanted me to make copies of.

Program Execution

The program went wonderfully! People were talking and discussing what they wanted to do at next month’s meeting while drinking hot tea and cocoa. Since the conference room could only hold 19 people, we talked about moving the club to our meeting room that can hold 50 people. Patrons also said they prefer sitting in one big group with tables pushed together, rather than being divided into smaller tables.


I would suggest going to Amazon for art supplies rather than purchasing art tools at the dollar store. We had a coloring open house in December and stocked up on dollar store supplies; some worked and some didn’t. I would also suggest setting out blank paper next to coloring sheets. One boy at our meeting wanted to create his own picture rather than staying inside the lines!

With every free event, you're going to have people who take advantage of the program. We had a couple patrons who took stacks of coloring sheets home. At the next program, I’m thinking of telling patrons that I can only make copies of pictures if they're going to be colored in the meeting room.

Supporting Materials