#ColorOurCollections: Creating Art with the Free Library's Digital Archive

By Chris B. RSS Wed, April 8, 2020

Do you remember that scene at the beginning of Tangled where Rapunzel completes a day's worth of tasks before breakfast? 

Yeah, that's a lot less funny now. 

But if the school assignments are done and your Netflix queue is getting dangerously short, it's time to take a break from your normal routine, pull out all the colored pencils, crayons, and markers, and color our collections!

The #ColorOurCollections hashtag began at the New York Academy of Medicine Library in 2016 and has been used by museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions to promote the artwork found in their digital repositories. The Free Library of Philadelphia's Digital Collections houses over 50,000 unique items, and many of them are just waiting for you to give them some color-love. 

For example, when illustrator K-Fai Steele visited the Free Library in 2019, she gifted us with a few spur-of-the-moment sketches of Pip, her protagonist from A Normal Pig. Why not give Pip some color and a background?


Or get an early jump on Pride Month festivities and color in this artwork featuring characters created by Brian Biggs from Tinyville Town: I'm a Librarian. (Side note: Books in the Tinyville Town series can be read online or downloaded from Hoopla!)


Looking for something a little more advanced? Get in the seasonal spirit by coloring in this Tulip illustration by Elizabeth MacKinstry.


If you're looking for a real challenge, add colorful panache to a page from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Henry Pitz. (Your color palette may need to be inspired by reading one of the many digital copies found in our catalog.)


If none of these are your jam, check out this PDF compilation that our Special Collections Division created from artwork across collections. The images within are from the Children's Literature Research Collection, Map Collection, Print and Picture Collection, and the Rare Book Department.

Don't be shy—show off your artistic skills by posting your masterpieces online! Tag the Free Library on Twitter and Instagram so we can admire your hard work! If you color in Pip or the Librarian, tag K-Fai (Twitter, Instagram) and Brian (Twitter, Instagram) so they can check out your art too!


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I want to register online please for the for my child
Bonita Nicholson - Manenberg, Cape Town
Thursday, April 23, 2020

Hi Bonita! If you live, work, pay taxes, or go to school in Philadelphia, you're eligible for a Free Library card. If you live in Pennsylvania, you can get one too. To apply for the card, follow this link: https://catalog.freelibrary.org/MyResearch/register If neither of these apply, we're unable to provide you a card at this time. Thanks for commenting on the blog! --Chris
Chris - FLP - Free Library of Philadelphia
Friday, April 24, 2020

Hi! I would love to access the stated PDF Compilation. What an amazing idea! Do I need to be signed in? The url it leads to is: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1APJwa7jOx4wOegFcT0BArNG_xRKem-Zj/view but it is unable to open.
lily - Philadelphia
Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Hi Lily! I'm sorry the link didn't work. I just tried it and it took me directly to the document, so I'm wondering if it was a glitch. If you try again and it doesn't work, let me know and I'll email you a link. -- Chris
Chris - Free Library of Philadelphia
Wednesday, April 29, 2020