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Posted March 2, 2017 | 1:09 PM

Libraries Add Splash of Color to Your Life

Coloring for adults is fun and relaxing

Coloring is not just for kids anymore. That's the thought behind a program in which grown-ups revive long-repressed coloring skills to have fun and briefly take their minds off life's challenges.

The trend began a couple of years ago, chronicled in national publications such as Parade Magazine and the New York Times, and on broadcast networks including CNN and HGTV. Coloring books for adults soared to the tops of some bestseller lists.

About a year ago, the Hillsborough County Library Cooperative got involved. It scheduled "Outside the Lines: Coloring for Adults" sessions at the John F. Germany Public Library in downtown Tampa, and at some branch libraries throughout the County. The craze might be ebbing a bit, but the activity remains popular.

Its attraction? Participants say coloring is a calming diversion, a temporary escape to simpler times. Some people talk quietly or listen to music while coloring. Others keep to themselves and focus on their handiwork.

Want to color? Download this exclusive Hillsborough County coloring page

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Pat Boyle, who colors at Riverview Branch Library, likes seeing how fellow participants color their sheets - the designs they select and their choices of hues. At a recent session, "We table-hopped, shared coloring ideas and made new friends," she says. "It was a fun evening."

Women and men of widely varying ages join in. Participation in the free sessions ranges from one person to dozens. The libraries provide coloring sheets and drawing tools: colored pencils and crayons.

A few people point out the irony of returning to what traditionally is considered a child's activity. Class leaders help them get past those feelings, and on to the matter of coloring in outlines of paisleys, cupcakes, landscapes, and whimsical characters. Grown-ups like to have fun, too, so why not coloring?

Sessions last between one and two hours. To find one near you, go to the Hillsborough County Library Cooperative's Adult Classes page. In the Search Box, type "Coloring" and hit the return key.

Photo Information: People coloring at New Tampa Library.