Library brings community together with coloring books

Like the cereal Trix, many people might say coloring books are for kids, but the Elizabethton/Carter County Library aims to show even simple activities like coloring can bring communities together in a special way.

Maryann Owen, a technology librarian at the Elizabethton/Carter County Library, said Coloring Connections is a chance for adults to reduce stress with scheduled downtime.

“You are able to relax and lower your blood pressure,” Owen said. “People are so busy in the day, they say everything runs together.”

She said the adult coloring group is important because it gives people a chance to do something with their hands, an activity she said helps ground people in order to relax them.

“People are looking for events like this,” Owen said.

The group started several years ago, and it consisted of maybe two or three people. Now, Owen said there are 11 regular attendees, not including herself. The group has evolved thanks in part to word of mouth.

“One lady told someone at the grocery store about the coloring group,” Owen said. “That person came the next week, along with a friend.”

The group does more than just color, however. Frequently, Owen said they get so caught up in conversations they forget to even begin coloring.

To those who believe coloring to be primarily a child’s activity, Owen said it takes a bit of time to get used to it.

“The first time I went to the back to color, I was so wound up, trying to color frustrated me,” she said. “The following week, I was a bit more relaxed, and by the third or fourth week is when I realized why it was working. This is where I can shut everything else out.”

As for what the group spends their time coloring, the projects range from adult coloring books to bookmarks and postcards. Owen said the books have more intricate designs and a variety of themes.

“My favorites are the ones with dragonflies,” Owen said.

She said participants do not have to be an artist in order to participate. They are all there to have a good time.

“We had an 81-year-old come one week with his daughter,” Owen said. “That was the week where we had Christmas-themed tiles and paints.”

Owen said the community that has gathered around this activity and the connections they have made is what the event is all about.

“People need a sense of community, a chance to come out of their shells,” she said.

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