SPRINGFIELD — On the third Wednesday of every month at 10 a.m., a small group gathers at the Albany-Springfield Branch of the Livingston Parish Library System to pursue what was once considered strictly a childhood pastime but is now an adult craze: coloring.
At the latest session on April 20, the devoted colorists sat around a table facing intricate designs that were void of color. The color would be supplied by those engaged in turning the outlined sheets into personal pieces of art. While those participating offered various reasons for taking up the hobby, the common thread given for coloring is that it is a relaxing endeavor that takes stress out a day’s routine.
Kathy Pitre, of Albany, who has been coloring “since I was a child,” said coloring is not only relaxing but it allows “my creative juices to flow.” She added that joining the group at the library also affords her the opportunity to socialize with others who share an interest in the same hobby.
“It’s kinda funny,” she says, “I loved to color when I was a child, and now I enjoy coloring with my grandchildren. … It’s something that different generations can share. This is so relaxing, it takes me away from everyday stress and makes me feel like an artist.”
Connie Ship, manager of the Albany-Springfield Branch, said that the library’s Coffee and Coloring sessions are just one more way the library system seeks to provide programs that attract residents to the library. She said the sessions usually attract between five and 10 participants and all seem to enjoy the opportunity to be together and watch beautiful patterns emerge from the efforts of the colorists.
Ship said the library system decided to initiate the coloring sessions when the adult coloring phenomenon took off several years ago. She said elaborate adult coloring books are available in book stores, at popular general merchandise outlets and hobby and craft shops. Ship said pencils, gel pens and liquid markers have been modified and made easily available to those who are interested in joining the chorus of adult colorists.
Anette Goynes, of Holden, busily coloring a section of her design in a vivid blue, said she forgets about her problems when she’s coloring, “You forget all your problems when you are here. I’ve been coloring since I was a little girl and I kept coloring before it became the rage. Now, it’s the thing to do. I like coming to the library and having the chance to color gives me another reason to be here.”
Rachael Collins, youth services librarian at the Albany-Springfield Branch, said she recently introduced teenagers to coloring and found a surprisingly eager interest in the hobby. She said the first teen coloring session attracted a sizeable group and she is planning for another such gathering in the near future.
“It was interesting to see that this group of teenagers put their phones down long enough to gather as a group and color,” Collins said.
“This was a good opportunity to bring some young people together. Many in this area live in small communities and just about everyone knows everyone else but they don’t always get a chance to be together in a fun, informal setting. The coloring sessions are a great way to get people together to socialize and get to know each other.”
Ship observed that while colorists can pursue their hobby alone at home, the monthly coloring sessions give residents another opportunity to socialize while pursuing something they enjoy.
The librarian said attracting residents to its facilities is an ongoing goal of the Livingston Parish Library System.
Coloring sessions are just the latest efforts the library system pursues in answering special interests that Livingston Parish residents might have.
For example, in the area of arts and crafts alone, the library offers, from time to time, drawing classes, string art demonstrations for youth, adult bead crafting, wool dying and tie dying, crochet instructions and at one time quilting sessions.
Additionally the library system offers, from time to time, youth oriented activities such as the recent Star Wars Day.
“If there is a genuine interest in something by a group of our citizens we will try to help them pursue that interest. We want people in our library not just to get books, movies and other such things, but we want them to see our facilities as a place to advance their learning on a wide variety of topics, meet with others and just enjoy the great facilities and staff that we have in our system,” Ship said.
The next coloring session is for 10 a.m. on May 18.
“We’ll have patterns and pencils waiting for you … you just bring your creativity,” Ship said. “I think we will all have a good time.”