Somerset County Library System of New Jersey’s (SCLSNJ) Bound Brook branch celebrates the history of Bound Brook by installing a Council Oak mural into the youth services space. The Council Oak is believed to be one of the oldest trees in New Jersey.

According to local history experts, the tree was already about 80 feet tall on May 4, 1681 when two Lenni Lenape Indian Chiefs sold the 5,000 acres on which Bound Brook stands to New Jersey Governor Philip Carteret and seven other men. Later, the tree served as a landmark for George Washington and his troops during the American Revolution. Today, the over 400 year old tree still stands tall on East Maple Street in Bound Brook.

“I was inspired by the 400 year old Council White Oak Tree in Bound Brook,” said Tina Froehlich, library assistant and mural artist. “I thought the historic landmark would make a nice addition to the children’s department. I used acrylic paint to create a four panel representation on ram board so it could be changed or removed without causing damage to our historic building.”

The mural will be used as both a historical reminder as well as an opportunity for enriched programming at the branch.

“Throughout the year, children will have the opportunity to decorate the tree mural with leaves, flowers, insects, snowflakes, and more,” said Cathy DeBerry, branch manager. “The mural was completed about a week ago and our younger customers and their caregivers already gravitate towards that corner. Daily we find tweens and teens taking photos in front of the tree, which is an unexpected benefit of the mural.”

Continued DeBerry, “Bound Brook branch staff are continuously finding new ways to engage customers. Our intention with this mural, and other asynchronous programming activities like it, is to capture the attention of our library customers in order to connect and provide opportunities to explore nature and local history.”

Additionally, the mural will help part of the youth services space transition into a corner for calm, meditation, and quiet reading adventures.

“Our primary intent is to use the mural to add a sense of calm and peacefulness,” said Aaron Pickett, youth services supervisor. “That corner of the room is being designed to become a focus of quiet, caregiver-child interaction. We have Chase’s Chair positioned next to the mural, have relocated the AWE preschool computers to a new space, and have also purchased new rugs and toys specifically for younger children.”

The Bound Brook branch is located at 402 East High Street in Bound Brook. For more information about Library Services, email boundbrook@sclibnj.org or call (908) 458-8410. To discover all SCLSNJ has to offer, visit SCLSNJ.org or connect with SCLSNJ on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.