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  • Writer's pictureMaria-Elena Cigarroa

Trip to the (Photo) Morgue! Friday, March 3, 2023 (12:30-5:30)

Updated: Mar 12

Today was a fun and busy day in the reading room. I staffed the reference desk from 12:30-3:00 today. During that time, I helped a patron conducting research on the Texas Military Institute--we pulled items from our general collection as well as a box of items from the Texas Military Institute Letters collection. I then helped a research team who asked to view 350 negatives from the Austin American Statesman photo morgue! Jude, the administrative assistant, was only able to pull 60 negatives given the short notice. I learned what equipment we offer patrons who want to view negatives--gloves, a lightbox, and an iPad (which allows you to view negatives as positive images)! I then explained to them how to fill out reproduction order forms and gave them instructions regarding costs, copyright, and turn-around time. A college student came in to research the Allandale neighborhood vertical files for a research report he was doing. And a few other people came in to use the City directories. At the end of my shift, Jane took me upstairs to the cold vault (brrr!) to show me where the Austin American Statesmen negatives are stored because the patrons will be back during mySunday shiftto look at more negatives.

After my desk shift was over, I had two hours to work on reference emails and administrative tasks. One reference email was from an architect who is working on restoring a beloved Austin i Austin restaurant that burned down--she wanted to know whether we had information about the building, photos, and its past history (we do). The second reference email was about deed history research for a particular address, but I asked for me information regarding the deed history time frame because that information will allow me to better direct him to the appropriate sources. I spend my remaining time helping the reference archivist re-shelve materials and completing my timesheet.

Maria-Elena Cigarroa

Supervisor: Jennifer Hecker

General Schedule: Sundays (11-6); Thursdays (2:00-6:00); Fridays (12:30-5:30)

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