The adult colouring craze


9091-colored-pencils-in-a-circle-isolated-on-a-white-background-pvOver the past year or so there’s been a new fun craze sweeping through schools, corporations, book stores and libraries – the adult colouring book! Taking a quick peek at Amazon’s bestselling books, you can see the list littered with different adult colouring books, even a Harry Potter themed one. Spreading from France to the US, UK, India, Australia, New Zealand and many more countries, this trend hasn’t just gained popularity through its nostalgic and youthful feel – the benefits of taking a short colouring break are grounded in science. Colouring has been considered a form of active meditation or mindfulness therapy, leading to relaxation and stress reduction. According to expert Mark Robert Waldman (as written in Psychologies), the theory is that focussing attention on the simple task of colouring occupies the hands and calms the mind. The repetitive motion focusses the brain on the present moment, replaces negative thoughts and creates a state of peace. Neuropsychologist, neuroscientist, and author of several adult colouring books, Dr Stan Rodski agrees; observing changes in people’s heart rate and brainwaves when colouring.

In Australia and India, many companies are utilising colouring books in the workplace to combat stress and improve mental health (and decrease sick days!). Colouring programs at libraries have been taking off too. They’re especially great to run as they require very little equipment or high level skills, so any one can get involved. Museums and libraries around the world have also been creating and sharing colouring pages made from beautiful images in their collections. View and colour them through the Twitter streams #colorourcollections and #colourourcollections.

Has your library been running any colouring programs, or have you tried out some colouring for yourself?

If not, download some free pages and give it a go!

– Michelle De Aizpurua, ILN Content Officer

Posted in General, Round 2016A and tagged , , , .


  1. Thank you for this Michelle. I work in a University library so we do not have any adult colouring books but I own a few myself. I have rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia but still manage to work part-time. My daughter gave me my first book and I found it actually helps my hands and also helps me to relax which does affect both conditions. Very interesting article.

  2. This is the first adult program we have implemented that takes place on a regular basis. It has been going great! We use color pages that are free (from the internet) and have a few books people have donated that we let people take out pages to color. We have it once a month but have requests to do it more often. I personally have a few coloring books but mine would not be appropriate for work! I love the funny swear word ones. Which makes me sound crass but I can’t help it!

  3. I hope to set this up soon at our Library in Uganda; Uganda Bureau of Statistics. Thank you for this information.

  4. This article led me to explore on the net. Found some great free images to use within our library’s adult color in corner.
    Thanks Michelle

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