Poetry at Montco 1/6/23

On Friday January 6 I went to Montgomery County Community College’s Brendlinger Library and did some poetry writing.

This statement would have been unremarkable in times past. You may remember I went to this location pretty much every week and conducted a session of whatever Poetry Marathon I was working on at the time. But…all of that stopped in March 2020. It’s been nearly three years since I have been able to come here and write. What a great thing it was to be able to be here again.

Let me give you a little update. Now, this library is not part of my official county library tour, but I believe I met the requirements, except for checking out books (I did have my library card checked to see if it still worked. It does, but the library assistant remarked on the fact that they don’t make this kind of card anymore, which meant to me everyone else is using a phone for this purpose. Maybe I will get that done sometime…).

I drove my regular route through Ambler, PA. You may remember photos I have snapped waiting at this light in the downtown. So, here we go again.

Eventually I arrived at the parking lot. It was empty – the school is on vacation right now. Here’s another location shot I’ve taken over and over – the view from my car in its parking space.

I guess the car is going to be kind of bored with this scene by the time I come back.

I headed inside and spent a bit of time talking with the desk assistant – I know her from when I came here before the pandemic. I caught up on campus news – the little coffee shop is being converted to a self-serve market. And the cafeteria (downstairs) is being closed and put to the use of the culinary school, which has grown a lot and is now getting space on campus rather than the small offsite location previous. Well, I’m very sad about the cafeteria, but it is a lot of space, and the nature of the school has changed. With remote learning, students come to campus more infrequently – the exceptions being those in hands-on courses of learning – and don’t need such facilities now.

The library itself has made some changes. One of the biggest ones is a large reduction in the number of books on shelves. The collection was not large to start with and most books were older and out of date. I think about half the books will be weeded out. Sounds bad, but the information available to students is actually much greater than it was even 20 years ago, with online resources. This library focuses a lot on offering tutoring and academic assistance services and space for students to study and work together. That’s what the students need and that is what the library is focusing on.

All right. I went upstairs to the quiet floor. Not because of students and their hubbub downstairs – the building was practically empty; no, it was the construction noise for the market area they are putting in that sent me there.

I settled in a back corner that was not available in previous days. The library has removed all computers (the students have their own or can get one supplied by the school to use while they are students). And now this area is open. I like it back here; it’s a nice enclosed spot to work. You see my little desk and then you see the view out into the main floor area in these photos.

I spent my time organizing the many odds and ends of poetry that have accumulated since I left off doing any regular writing in June, 2022. I did a few Little Vines, the first I have written since I published the last collection last summer. I completed a few almost-there poems. And, I wrote my Word of the Day poem. I’ll leave you with it:

Tanka 379.

Your shenanigans
garnered you some paragraphs
now stacked in the trash
These discarded magazines
your photo on the cover


The word is:

garner : to acquire by effort : EARN

“Garner.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/garner. Accessed 6 Jan. 2023.

12 thoughts on “Poetry at Montco 1/6/23

    • I like this library a lot. College libraries in general are better than the public library for this kind of work, the workspaces are set up for it and there is less commotion (on the silent floor, the main floor is where you go for some stimulation!).

  1. That looks like a very comfortable and warm space in which to work. I think it is smart for libraries to pivot in directions that best serve the needs of their communities. Yes, I happen to love books and that is the primary way in which I utilize libraries but I don’t think that is true of most people, especially those younger than me. Serving as a community hub I think is the right direction to go in.

    • For this library it is definitely the way to go. I’ve browsed the shelves and the collection meets basic needs. But there are so many more resources now online plus being able to get volumes from other libraries, which we are lucky to have a good system in our state. The academic services are highly used by students given the diversity of levels and programs, and I know it helps a lot of kids more to have personal attention than a lot of books on shelves.

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