Adult Coloring Party

Residents enjoy an afternoon of coloring and card-making Saturday afternoon at the Ottumwa Public Library.

OTTUMWA — Coloring isn’t just for kids. Over the years, adult coloring has become a popular activity and made its way to the Ottumwa Public Library.

Since the launch of an adult coloring meetup two years ago, Ashley Manning, the reference genealogy librarian, said she has seen success.

“We saw other libraries doing it, so it was a library group effort,” she said, “so we decided to add this and see how it went. So many people showed up, more than we were expecting, but because so many people showed up, we ran out of materials.”

Attendance has dropped off since the program started, but she was happy with the many people who did show up. There’s a steady group of people who show up each month.

Manning said due to weather, the library decided it would be best to have Saturday as the last coloring party before starting again in the spring.

At the last one for a while, people took the time to enjoy conversation, snacks and different coloring pages; some made holiday cards as well. Manning made a holiday card and taught others to make some. She said the library may decide to add card-making to the adult coloring party, but has not come to a final decision.

“I never actually colored before,” she said. “I like it, it’s relaxing, but I try to save it up when we do it here. I say, ‘If you like it, you should do it as often as you can.’ It’s a great chance to get creative and go back to doing an art of it. Although, it’s pre-drawn, it’s still fun to color in.”

The usual people who do show up each month are retired women. Most of them, in fact, are friends and have been coming since it first started, choosing to come back for different reasons.

“All our friends get together every time,” Edie Rooker said, “every chance we get. We can just horse around and color.”

“We can socialize and get out of the house,” Patty Heckethorn, Rooker’s friend said. “We like the camaraderie and the coloring. They say it’s good for us to socialize with other people.”

Manning chimed in. “It’s something you can do without having to concentrate on 100 percent.”

Rooker talked about a friend who received a coloring page as a gift calling it “beautiful,” before two other friends made a comment about something. Rooker laughed and said her friends were the highlight of the afternoon.“I love it here,” Rocker said laughing, “there are two others who are troublemakers. Here we are just having a good time, we let it all loose.”

Chiara Romero can be reached at


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