Grab your crayons and markers and head over to Greenport’s Floyd Memorial Library the next few weeks to enjoy some coloring books. There’s just one catch: You have to be an adult.
That’s right; this isn’t a program for your kindergartner. Instead, as a way to battle stress, the library will host three coloring groups this month at which adults can enjoy coffee, tea and each other’s company while unwinding and coloring between the lines — just like they did in grade school.
“It seems like it’s a very popular thing,” said assistant library director Poppy Johnson. “It’s definitely something that’s happening, so we’re going to try it.”
This program is part of a trend that’s sweeping the nation, with hundreds of public libraries starting to offer adult coloring classes. As of last Tuesday, nine of the 20 best-selling books on Amazon.com were coloring books designed for adults, and five of them made the top 10.
At Burton’s Bookstore in Greenport, there’s a display of 12 to 15 coloring books specifically for adults. According to employee Bobby Nicholas, the biggest sellers, especially around the holidays, were those created by Johanna Basford.
Durell Godfrey of Orient and East Hampton decided to jump on the coloring bandwagon after reading a March New York Times article on Ms. Basford back in March. An artist her whole life, Ms. Godfrey thought, “I could do that,” and called a publisher the next day.
Penguin Publishing released Ms. Godfrey’s “Color Me Cluttered” on Dec. 8. It’s an intricate coloring book comprising pictures of kitchens, classrooms, suitcases and more — all filled to the brim with knickknacks. The thing that makes her book unique, she said, is the personal touch and the realism of the artwork. Many of the rooms and items pictured are from her own current or past homes.
Ms. Godfrey said she believes people have two parts of their brains: the part that “figures out what you’ll have for dinner” and the part that wants to “fool around and play.” She believes her coloring book will allow people to tap into the latter.
“It lets your mind wander,” she said. “Sometimes people get their best ideas in the shower or when playing golf, when their minds wander. I think your mind can wander when you’re knitting, so there’s no reason why your mind can’t wander when you’re coloring in a book.”
In a December 2015 Wall Street Journal article, Anne Le Meur, editorial manager for nonfiction reference books at Hachette Pratique, compared coloring to the “art-making process used in art therapy by psychologists.”
Ms. Le Meur went on to say coloring has anti-stress effects, such as mindfulness and meditation, something Ms. Johnson noticed as well.
“I think it is a kind of meditation,” Ms. Johnson said. “We’ve had meditation classes, we have yoga classes. We do all sorts of things at the library. But [coloring] is just another way that people can sort of access how their own mind is working and calm themselves down and just be.”
She added that it’s important to host these types of programs at the library to offer people a way to overcome their overwrought, stressful days. Adult coloring sessions at the library will take place Tuesdays, Jan. 12, 19 and 26, from 1 to 3 p.m.
Ms. Godfrey’s “Color Me Cluttered” can be purchased online through Amazon or Target and at numerous bookstores in the Hamptons.