Collaborative Social Media Campaigns and Special Collections: A Case Study on #ColorOurCollections

Anne Garner, Johanna Goldberg, Rebecca Pou


From February 1 to February 5, 2016, The New York Academy of Medicine Library launched #ColorOurCollections, a social media campaign that invited libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions to share images from their collections for users to color and repost on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. The current popularity of adult coloring books inspired the idea. Large print runs and parallel sales of adult coloring books by Joanna Basford, Dover’s Creative Haven line, and others demonstrate a surge of interest in adult coloring, a format that encourages participatory art-making. In 2015, coloring books dominated the trade paperback bestseller list, accounting for “13.5% of the total [list] positions.” Recently, librarians have responded to the trend, forming library coloring clubs and adult coloring therapy programs.3 In this article, we discuss the goals of #ColorOurCollections, its successes and challenges, and offer recommendations for special collections in libraries interested in embarking on social media campaigns.

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