Getting your color on: maybe there’s some truth to the trend

Post originally published on LITA Blog


Coloring was never my thing, even as a young child, the amount of decision required in coloring was actually stressful to me. Hence my skepticism of this zen adult coloring trend. I purchased a book and selected coloring tools about a year ago, coloring bits and pieces here and there but not really getting it. Until now.

While reading an article about the psychology behind adult coloring, I found this quote to be exceptionally interesting:

The action involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching colors. This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills [coordination necessary to make small, precise movements]. The relaxation that it provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress. -Gloria Martinez Ayala [quoted in Coloring Isn’t Just For Kids. It Can Actually Help Adults Combat Stress]

Color Me Stress Free by Lacy Mucklow and Angela Porter

A page, colored by Whitni Watkins, from Color Me Stress Free by Lacy Mucklow and Angela Porter

As I was coloring this particular piece [pictured to the left] I started seeing the connection the micro process of coloring has to the macro process of managing a library and/or team building. Each coloring piece has individual parts that contribute to forming the outline of full work of art. But it goes deeper than that.

For exampled, how you color and organize the individual parts can determine how beautiful or harmonious the picture can be. You have so many different color options to choose from, to incorporate into your picture, some will work better than others. For example, did you know in color theory, orange and blue is a perfect color combination? According to color theory, harmonious color combinations use any two colors opposite each other on the color wheel.” [7]  But that the combination of orange, blue and yellow is not very harmonious?

Our lack of knowledge is a significant hindrance for creating greatness, knowing your options while coloring is incredibly important. Your color selection will determine what experience one has when viewing the picture. Bland, chaotic or pleasing, each part working together, contributing to the bigger picture. “Observing the effects colors have on each other is the starting point for understanding the relativity of color. The relationship of values, saturations and the warmth or coolness of respective hues can cause noticeable differences in our perception of color.” [6]  Color combinations, that may seem unfitting to you, may actually compliment each other.  

Note that some colors will be used more frequently and have a greater presence in the final product due to the qualities that color holds but remember that even the parts that only have a small presence are crucial to bringing the picture together in the end. 

“Be sure to include those who are usually left out of such acknowledgments, such as the receptionist who handled the flood of calls after a successful public relations effort or the information- technology people who installed the complex software you used.”[2]

There may be other times where you don’t use a certain color as much as it should have and could have been used. The picture ends up fully colored and completed but not nearly as beautiful (harmonious) as it could have been. When in the coloring process, ask yourself often “‘What else do we need to consider here?’ you allow perspectives not yet considered to be put on the table and evaluated.” [2] Constant evaluation of your process will lead to a better final piece.

While coloring I also noticed that I color individual portions in a similar manner. I color triangles and squares by outlining and shading inwards. I color circular shapes in a circular motion and shading outwards. While coloring, we find our way to be the most efficient but contained (within the lines) while simultaneously coordinating well with the other parts. Important to note, that the way you found to be efficient in one area  may not work in another area and you need to adapt and be flexible and willing to try other ways. Imagine coloring a circle the way you color a square or a triangle. You can take as many shortcuts as you want to get the job done faster but you may regret them in the end. Cut carefully. 

Remember while coloring: Be flexible. Be adaptable. Be imperturbable.

You can color how ever you see fit. You can choose which colors you want, the project will get done. You can be sure there will be moments of chaos, there will be moments that lack innovation. Experiment, try new things and the more you color the better you’ll get. However, coloring isn’t for everyone, at that’s okay. 

Now, go back and read again, this time substitute the word color for manage.

Maybe there is something to be said about this trend of the adult coloring book. 

1. Coloring Isn’t Just For Kids. It Can Actually Help Adults Combat Stress
2. Twelve Ways to Build an Effective Team
3. COLOURlovers: History Of The Color Wheel
4. Smashing Magazine: Color Theory for Designers, Part 1: The Meaning of Color:
5. Some Color History
6. Color Matters: Basic Color Theory
7. lifehacker: Learn the Basics of Color Theory to Know What Looks Good
8. lifehacker: Color Psychology Chart
9. Why Flexible and Adaptive Leadership is Essential

Comp D

Competency D: Apply the fundamental principles of planning, management, marketing, and advocacy.

Component 1: Statement of Competency

Our work is not fundamentally about business, it is about what makes us great however there are principles that need to be followed to achieve this greatness. Jim Collins states in his book, Good to Great in the Social Sectors, “A great organization is one that delivers superior performance and makes a distinctive impact over a long period of time” (Collins, 2005, p7). There are a lot of components in running any organization but to do it well takes a significant amount of work. You must think of the library’s mission, goals to meet and the action plan to meet them, staff needs, budget needs, advocacy of services to the public, collection maintenance and disaster planning. This is why we evaluate our services, push for community programs, and survey our patrons so that we are close to having a greater impact on those we serve.

As a community organization, libraries serve to have a positive impact on their community this is only achieved by following these principles involved in planning, management, marketing, and advocacy of your library.  The planning I mention here is conducted by determining the library’s mission statement and developing an action plan by conducting a SWOT analysis and environmental scan. A SWOT analysis assesses the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats of and to the organization. An environmental scan assesses outside factors that can affect the success or failure of the library. Environmental scanning is vital in today’s library profession as rapid technological changes and economic shifts dramatically impact information organizations. These analyses and scans should be conducted periodically and the mission statement should be assessed to make sure that it is still holding true to the goals of the library.

The planning is the most important aspect of managing a library. There are multiple ways to manage an organization the difference between the ways is whether it will lead your organization to be good or to be great. I understand that many who go into the library profession do not intend to manage a library, but it is important to understand what it takes to manage a library so you understand how to play your part towards the success of the organization as a whole. Haycock & Sheldon define the basic task of management to be, “using organizational resources to achieve objectives through planning, organizing, staffing (human resources), leading, and controlling” (2008, p67-68).

Librarians need to have management skills whether they desire to be in a management position or not. We are put in situations every day that require managerial skills, whether we are working as a reference librarian helping solve a research problem or we are an access services librarian dealing with an irate patron. The managerial skills include technical, human and conceptual skills. We need to know how to use our services including the ILS, digital resources, and general hardware that our patrons may use. We need to be able to interact effectively with people, especially if we are working directly with patrons. We need to be able to share with others the concept of the library, beyond directing them to the mission statement.

Beyond the planning and managing of the library it is up to management, staff and volunteers to help market the services the library offers to their patrons. Marketing is the driving force of the library, if your patrons (existing and potential) do not know what you, as a library offer they cannot provide the feedback you need to build and adapt your services to better serve their needs; “True marketing is also the heart of any advocacy effort that attempts to communicate the library’s value to key stakeholders and funders” (Haycock & Sheldon, 2008, p77). The public needs to be reminded, often, that there are free services just around the corner for them to use.

Component 2: Evidence and Justification of Evidence

The first piece of evidence I have included is a [Hedgehog_Concept] written in Libr204 on the Hedgehog Concept introduced by Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great in the Social Sectors. I chose this piece of evidence to show my understanding of one of the management styles for social sectors. Libraries are part of the social sector of businesses. This piece shows my understanding of this management style and the importance of possessing and implementing good management skills to run a great organization.

My second piece of evidence I have included is a [Live Oak School Library- Strategic Plan] created in cooperation with five other classmates for Libr204. This assignment is the culmination of the 204 class: all of our previous assignments required that we complete part of the process required to produce a strategic plan for a library. My team decided to approach the assignment as a group, compiling research and ideas and then assign group individuals to bring everything together in a formal section of the assignment. I was assigned to write the literature review of environmental scan (ES). This section provided a general overview of an ES, its goal, basic principles, considerations and barriers of an ES, and implementing an ES into your strategic plan. I also worked as an editor on the assignment, as I had great attention to detail and very good written communication skills.

My third piece of evidence I have included is the [LIBR204LOSfinal] which we used in presentation of our strategic plan final project in Libr204. I worked with one other group member in assembling the presentation from the final draft of our strategic plan and I discussed slides 4 & 5; where I introduced the environmental scan, discussed the concept and the process of an environmental scan. I included this piece of evidence to further demonstrate my understanding of one of the key principles in planning and managing and organization.


I have shown through my statement of competency and my evidence that I understand how to apply the principles of planning, managing, advocating and marketing. The knowledge I gained in producing, with help of my group, a strategic plan gave me better insight to the key components of library management. I also showed my understanding that even if I do not desire a position in management that managerial skills are necessary to all areas of the library profession. The knowledge I gained from these projects has given me a strong foundation in understanding the responsibilities I will need to accept in managing an organization, as well as a blue print for doing it successfully.


Collins, J. (2005). Good to great and the social sectors: A monograph to accompany good to great. San Francisco, CA: Elements Design Group.

Haycock, K. and Sheldon, B. (2008). The portable MLIS: insights from the experts. Westport: Libraries Unlimited.



Live Oak School Library- Strategic Plan