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  • Writer's pictureMaria-Elena Cigarroa

We Come in Peace? Monday, March 12th (1-6pm)

Photo of Tapes in Audio-Visual Collection area

My schedule is a little different this week because I'm going to Philadelphia mid-week for a medical school event for my daughter. So I came in on a Monday, when the AHC is closed to the public. I was the only staff member present all afternoon, but there was a security guard stationed at one of the desks in the basement. I like going in on Mondays to focus on reference emails, conduct research, and tackle administrative tasks like setting up meetings or completing my timesheets.

Today, I researched a question from the the Howson Library branch manager, who wanted to know whether their building is a historic landmark. I also worked on a reference email request from a musician who wanted to know whether we had an Austin Music Network (AMN) recording of his band's performance. I haven't had much experience with our audio-visual materials, so I went down to the basement to see whether I could locate the recording and also determine whether the AMN collection was indexed.

While I was down in the basement, I heard a voice declare "We come in peace!" and then heard laughing. I assumed it was the construction crew. Turns out it wasn't! When I emerged from the audio-visual collection stacks, I found several teenagers rifling through the audio-visual materials and equipment. I yelled "hey" and they quickly ran out of the basement building through doors which the construction crew forgot to lock. I think I scared the intruders more than they startled me! I resisted an overwhelming urge to chase after them and instead went to inform the security guard. I called Danielle, the AHC Director to let her know, and then spent the rest of the day figuring out how to complete and file an incident report. Danielle emailed all the AHC staff to let them know what happened and indicated that she will meet with the construction crew to develop a better safety protocol. What a startling and unexpected way to end my last practicum hours!

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