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Coloring is CALM-ing for adults

Cedar Mill library jumps on coloring bandwagon with monthly program

TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Laura Dickinson colors in coloring books at the Cedar Mill Community Library.Laura Dickinson may be 69 years old, but she’s not afraid to break out a coloring book in public the same way she might have done at 6, or 9.

Dickinson was one of two people to take part last month in the Cedar Mill Community Library’s inaugural coloring for adults program.

“It’s relaxing, fun and creative,” said Dickinson, a retired teacher and health-care manager who worked out of a book called “Wildflowers to Color.” “You can be a kid again.”

“This, believe it or not, is trending across the nation,” said Lynne Erlandson, who is head of adult services at Cedar Mill Community Library and launched the new program in April.TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Laura Dickinson fills in flowery shapes with a crayon at Cedar Mill Community Librarys first Coloring and Listening Moments (CALM), a monthly coloring session for adults.

The library dubbed the monthly sessions Coloring and Listening Moments, or CALM. Each month, a librarian or another staff member reads a short literary selection while grownups work on provided coloring sheets or use a page from their own books, which are now widely available for adults.

The next session of CALM begins at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the library. The program is free.

Erlandson was undaunted that just two patrons showed for the inaugural session of CALM, which happened to fall on an uncommonly warm April evening.

“I do think this is going to catch on,” she said. “It’s so relaxing. In all the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, this gives us a chance to sit down and be doing something, to use that creative side of our brain.”

She noted that the library’s monthly “zentangling” program — another mellow and trending pastime — has developed a modest but devoted following over time.

Anne Christensen, the other coloring enthusiast attending the first night, was working with a large set of high-quality Copic pens to tackle a complicated geometric pattern.

“It’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing,” Christensen said. “It helps me deal with my anxiety.”

Dickinson, her fellow coloring enthusiast, also has devoted plenty of time to painting with watercolors, but sometimes it’s more relaxing to simply color someone else’s designs with a crayon.

“It can be mindless, to be honest,” she said. “I actually like to color while I’m listening to books on CD or on my phone.”

“The other thing I think is nice about coloring is pretty much everybody is going to be successful at it,” said Dickinson, who uses her finished works to decorate storage boxes. “Think about what cheap entertainment it is. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.”TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Anne Christensen fills in shapes during an adult coloring series at the Cedar Mill Community Library.