Discover the Calming Effects of Coloring at Muncie Public Library

Mary Lou Gentis sets up supplies for "Color Me Calm," an adult coloring program. Photo by: Raven BrooksMary Lou Gentis sets up supplies for "Color Me Calm," an adult coloring program. Photo by: Raven Brooks

By: Raven Brooks—

Muncie, IN—Adult coloring is a hot trend with new coloring books designed especially for adults popping up at bookstores, craft stores, and online. Libraries across the country are following the trend by adding adult coloring to their list of programs. Muncie Public Library is among those offering adults the opportunity to discover the calming effects of coloring.

Web Junction, an online resource for information, says that coloring is one of the easiest, most affordable, and least stressful programs around. After doing her own research, Maring-Hunt Library Branch Manager Mary Lou Gentis decided to create a coloring program at Maring-Hunt and called it Color Me Calm. “Coloring is almost considered a form of meditation…it’s supposed to reduce anxiety, promote mindfulness, and encourage participants to be present and in the now,” said Gentis.

The program began in June and meets the last Thursday of each month. Individuals enjoy coloring pictures of their choice with a calming video playing in the background. The library provides the coloring sheets, pencils, and markers but participants may bring their own.

Gentis thought the program would attract 20 to 30-year-olds because of the trendiness of coloring, but has been surprised to find the program attracting a small but growing crowd of older individuals. Gentis feels the program fills a need as a stress reliever but more importantly is fun. “I like to know that when people leave the library, they have had a fun and positive experience,” she said.

Color Me Calm has also partnered with LifeStream Services, a nationally accredited, award-winning, non-profit organization. LifeStream provides pre-printed cards for the Color Me Calm program. Participants can choose to color traditional coloring sheets or can choose to color the cards. The completed cards are then returned to LifeStream to be sent to homebound clients who may not have family members or others in their lives. Gentis says that LifeStream personnel say the cards can be a “real day brightener” for these individuals.

The next Color Me Calm will be Thursday, October 27 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Maring-Hunt Library located at 2005 S. High Street in Muncie. The program is free and open to the public. No library card is required. Participants can “drop in” as their schedule allows. Gentis encourages participants to bring their own snacks and/or nonalcoholic beverages. She also encourages everyone to bring a friend along. “I love seeing new faces,” she said.