#ColourOurCollections: Introduction

What is #ColourOurCollections?

Colour Our Collections is an annual international colouring festival on social media where libraries, museums, archives and other cultural institutions share free colouring content featuring images from their collections. It was launched by The New York Academy of Medicine Library in 2016 and the number of participating institutions has grown since then.

Colour Our Collections logo. Date: February 7-11 2022. On the right are two Renaissance era men colouring using quills.
#ColourOurCollections 2022 banner.

UCC Library & #ColourOurCollections

In February 2022 UCC Library participates for the first time in #ColourOurCollections sharing images from Special Collections & Archives to spread awareness and better engagement with our collections by inspiring creativity and sparking curiosity. As the lead in this project I asked John Rooney, Emma Horgan & Emer Twomey for the widest range of items to showcase the variety of collections, subject matter and formats present in Special Collections & Archives. In addition, the images needed to adhere to copyright restrictions and avoid content that might be considered offensive or controversial. This resulted in:


Curved wall decoration with two mermen on either end of the wall decoration and a classical Greek or Roman face in the middle.
Collection: BL/EP/B/A/10_wall decoration, Bantry Estate Collection: Ancillary, UCC Library Archives.

Subject Matter:

  • architecture
  • botany
  • country scenes
  • Irish history
  • Irish literature
  • Dutch cartography of Munster
  • political satire
  • street scenes
Two sketches: on the left is a N With a series of rectangles layered underneath the N. On the right is a bull leaping. Under the N is the word Nevada. Under the bull are the words super strong.
Subject matter: detail from portfolio sketches, BL/VC/EF Elizabeth Friedlander Collection, UCC Library Archives.


  • prints
  • printed books
  • manuscripts
  • maps
  • sketches
On the left is a map of the coastline of Baltimore Bay showing Sherkin and Cape Clear islands. In the middle is the stylised framed title page of a late 19th century Irish language manuscript. On the right is a sprig of Festuca littoralis.
Different formats: map (van Keulen’s ‘Baltimore Bay’ inset), manuscript (Ls 150), printed book (plate 80 – Festuca littoralis’ in John Sibthorp’s Flora Graeca). All Special Collections, UCC Library.

Collaboration and Promotion

#ColorOurCollections provides a fun means for UCC Library to both to promote the institution and share its collections with a wide audience. To that end, I built on existing research in selecting the title page of Raphael Holinshed’s The … chronicles comprising the description and historie of England, the description and historie of Ireland, the description and historie of Scotland… [1586-87].  In 2016 Dr Edel Semple, in UCC’s School of English, identified the title page as being a collage of various other title pages and had blogged about it in “Culture Night: Shakespeare’s Sources & the Boole Library’s Resources”.

The title page to 'The Chronicles' by Raphael Holinshed. The page has an ornate border surrounding the printed title words.
Collage title page to volume 3 of Holinshed’s Chronicles, Special Collections, UCC Library.

To present the images in the best possible manner I asked Stephanie Chen, UCC Library’s Digital Specialist, and the Digital Learning student assistants, Cara Long and David Leen, to format the images using the #ColourOurCollections template. Over the course of this week to maximise the reach of UCC Library’s colouring book the Library’s Communications team will share the images from UCC Library’s social media: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook.

Over the course of this week my colleagues John, Emma and Emer will discuss how the process worked from selecting images, to creating the black & white images, to discarding possible images for a variety of reasons.

#ColourOurCollections: 2022

UCC Library’s colouring book (2022) will remain accessible year-round for free download. Access the colouring book:

Share your filled-in images on social media using the hashtags #ColourOurCollections #ColorOurCollections (as the campaign launched in the US many institutions use the American spelling of colour!). Tag us in @UCCLibrary @theriversideUCC – we can’t wait to see what you share! A gallery of the images is also available on Play!

Special Collections & Archives , UCC.

11am - 4.30pm, Monday to Friday and Until 7.15pm on Wednesdays

Boole Library

UCC Library University College Cork Cork Ireland T12 ND89