This is a new yearly series on the blog to focus on UAlberta Libraries staff who were nominated for a Service Excellence award. Over the next couple of weeks, we will share the nominees and winners of 2018. Nominees were put forward by fellow staff members and then winners were chosen by an internal committee of peers.
Individual UAL Service Excellence Nominee
Submitted by: Robert Desmarais
I am nominating Jeff Papineau for a UAL Service Excellence Award for his extraordinary contribution to Bruce Peel Special Collections in all matters relating to service excellence. Jeff consistently demonstrates leadership and initiative in the unit, especially on public service matters that impact our researchers.
A shining example of Jeff’s demonstrated excellent service to library patrons is his recent handling of a researcher visit that resulted in a cash donation to the Peel library. Gary Kurutz, retired Director of the Special Collections Branch of the California State Library in Sacramento, recently contacted Jeff to follow up on an earlier visit he made to the Peel library to consult Klondike materials for his forthcoming bibliography to be published by the Book Club of California. Gary asked if it would be possible to get the measurements of a title page and scan of a rare dust jacket for his bibliography. Jeff immediately obliged but he also showed great initiative by informing Gary of some recent acquisitions from the library’s uncatalogued backlog that Gary had never seen or heard of before.
Gary was incredulous that Jeff would take it upon himself to go above and beyond his expectations to provide important new sources for his bibliography. In a follow-up letter addressed to me, Gary expressed his appreciation with high praise for Jeff and a promise to make a cash donation to the library:
“Dear Robert, Enclosed is a donation in honor of the extraordinary service of Jeff Papineau of your staff. Jeff has always answered my requests with utmost professionalism and efficiency. He has made my research on writing a descriptive bibliography on the Klondike and Alaska gold rushes so much easier. In undertaking this project, I have now visited twenty-six research libraries and archives, and without doubt, Jeff has exceeded in service all the other institutions in responsiveness. The Peel Special Collections Library is most fortunate to have him” (Gary F. Kurutz, letter dated 10 December 2017).
In every interaction with library patrons, Jeff demonstrates that service is a top priority. A further example of Jeff’s commitment to excellent service is his dedication to the ongoing and increasingly complicated effort to assist Peel curators with exhibition projects. Jeff’s excellent service to support curator Helen Cheung and her research for a forthcoming exhibition on Chinese merchants in Western Canada deserves special commendation. Helen wrote that Jeff’s efforts are especially praiseworthy because he always goes the extra mile to help:
As a guest curator of Bruce Peel Special Collections, I wish to express my heartfelt appreciation for the outstanding support service that I received and continue to receive from Jeff Papineau as I prepare for an exhibition scheduled to be held in 2021. I am impressed by his professionalism and appreciate that he always provides service promptly and with a big smile. He often goes beyond his call of duty to accommodate special service requests from me, the donors, and the Chinese community such as locating more recent and uncatalogued archival materials on short notice. Sometimes he will take the initiative to make suggestions so that services can be delivered to us more efficiently. I believe that he is a great asset to the Peel library and all its users (Helen Cheung, email dated 25 May 2018).
The impact of Jeff’s contribution to Helen’s exhibition work is remarkable. Jeff cares deeply about his public service work and he takes great pride in his role as an ambassador of the Peel library.