Groves wins award for achievement

January 22, 2004, vol. 29, no. 2

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SFU reference and liaison librarian Percilla Groves remembers fondly her early years in rural Ontario when her parents would take her to visit the local library.

“There was just something so appealing about being in the middle of all those books,” says the soft-spoken Groves. “I developed an enormous commitment to the printed word,” she says, gently touching her hand to her heart.

On Jan. 23, that “enormous commitment” will be recognized in a ceremony at the Diamond University Centre when SFU President Michael Stevenson presents Groves with the 2003 staff achievement award.

The award celebrates Groves's 31 years of professional “commitment and devotion to SFU” and her “generosity and goodwill” to colleagues and students.

In 1969, after graduating with a bachelor of arts from the University of Waterloo, Groves hitchhiked to Vancouver with a friend.

“We visited SFU, and I was really impressed by the architecture and the lively feel of the campus, and I thought, ‘This is where I want to be.'”

Three years later, she had her first job at SFU in the registrar's office. Within four months, she had transferred to the library as a clerk.

In 1980, while continuing to work part-time at SFU, Groves entered library school at UBC. Today, she serves as library liaison for the faculty of education and the department of psychology, developing specialized collections and teaching research-related skills to students and faculty.

In his nominating letter, Allan McKinnon, director of field programs in the faculty of education, commended Groves for being “such a committed, forgiving, and patient educator,” and for demonstrating “enduring kindness and sensitivity.”

Though she is honoured by the sentiment, Groves is reluctant to take all the credit for her achievements. “Any success I have had has been the result of the efforts of many, many good people.” Groves has never regretted her decision to dedicate her career to SFU.

She has been an active member of the campus community, helping to negotiate union contracts and raise funds for scholarships. She has spent a lifetime surrounded by words, both literally and figuratively.

Her fifth-floor office is near the stacks and her walls are decorated with framed small-press broadsheets featuring work by various poets, acclaimed and otherwise.

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