Almost two years ago, Hazlet Township upgraded its library with a fresh, new ceiling and enhanced lighting. Since Monday, July 23, the library has been getting a facelift of another sort, and this time, rather than shuttering its doors for the renovation, the public is encouraged to observe its progress.
Two shore area artists, Prudence Brown and Amber DeGruttola, Manasquan, began sketching a timeline of Hazlet’s history on "Mural Monday." That history will span not only 34 feet of library wall space, but two centuries in the life of this community, according to a press release.
“Hazlet has such a rich history that is hidden by the busy community we see now,” said Beth Henderson, librarian at the Hazlet Library, which is a branch of the Monmouth County Library.
“When the artists and I first met to discuss the project, probably three or four years ago, we all knew instinctively this was the direction the mural should go.”
Brown and DeGruttola will be assisted by three very artistic Hazlet teens. Several years ago, the pair created a mural in the Howell Township Library depicting Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party, instead replacing the figures with literary characters.
The $4,300 project is being funded by the Hazlet Township Library Committee, a group of residents appointed by the township committee to oversee library operations and act as a liaison between the library and the town. The money for the project was raised through the library committee’s quarterly book sales.
The mural will adorn a 34 x 4 foot wall in the children’s section. Anchoring the image will be the Blue Comet, a commuter train that linked shore towns to New York City from 1929 to 1941 and stopped in Hazlet.
Scattered across the mural will be the mascots of each of the township’s eight schools.
“Aside from just taking in the history the mural will represent, hiding the mascots in the picture will create a local version of the book ‘I Spy,’ ” Henderson said, referring to the popular children’s series by Jean Marzollo.
The mural is expected to take three weeks to complete.
“I encourage all of Hazlet’s residents to follow its progress. Every day it will look different with something more to see. As a parent, I think this is a great way to show children how a project like this is created. As a librarian, this is another great reason to visit the library if you haven’t been by in awhile,” Henderson said.
The library’s hours are Monday and Wednesday, 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays during July and August. Saturday hours will return to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. after Labor Day. The library can be reached at 732-264-7164, and the website is www.monmouthcountylib.org
“Our next book sale is September 15,” said Henderson.