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MIT Libraries Rewards and Recognition: 2002 Awards

2002 Infinite Mile Awards

See photos of recipients

Individual Awards

Results, Outcome and Productivity: Margaret Bloom

An award for Results, Outcome and Productivity goes to a person whose primary domain is the Humanities’ basement stacks. Down there in the half-light, this stacker has taken a re-shelving time of over 48 hours and reduced it to fewer than 24. The highly used and tough-to-manage basement collection now sits in proud, impeccable order. This is an ongoing accomplishment for the recipient and a true boon to the user, not to mention a gain for the image of the MIT Libraries in general. With similar fervor, this stacker single-handedly shifted the entire Humanities Reference collection, gaining 21 shelves for the general collection. Meanwhile, adding to her everyday impulse to help the random patron in the stacks, this recipient has taken the initiative to acquire reference and information service skills that lie outside her position’s job description. Her nominator says, "Quite simply, it is the large quantity and excellent quality of her work that distinguishes Margaret Bloom.

Results, Outcome and Productivity: Tracy Gabridge

In the area of Results, Outcome and Productivity, we recognize a librarian who, "over the past 18 months, has accomplished, with astonishing effectiveness and a minimum of fanfare, work of high complexity, sophistication, and value." Although not a member of the 3rd Barton Transition Team, the new Aleph OPAC couldn't have been what it is without her. She served on both the indexing strike force and the OPAC customization group. These two tasks were not only non-glamorous, she often had to serve as the official "Bearer of Bad News", to her team, or to the entire Libraries staff. Nevertheless, this was always accomplished with grace, and a clear understanding of the issues. Such understanding in fact, that often when we were told something was impossible, she found a way to manipulate the system to meet MIT's needs. She communicated issues effectively, patiently, and respectfully with Ex Libris, often dealing with language and cultural barriers that required several re-explanations of a problem before everyone understood. When results were finally achieved, she responded quickly and enthusiastically. She has an unerring sense of overall priorities and is able to do what really needs to be first. She is a true team player, often motivating colleagues by her tireless dedication and willingness to just "take care of it." Masterful time management skills have been necessary to juggle all of this on top of her already demanding job responsibilities. For all this and more, we present an Infinite Mile Award to Tracy Gabridge. 

Innovation and Creativity: Eileen Dorschner

An award for Innovation and Creativity goes to someone faced with the daunting challenge of designing a new library in smaller space. Instead of feeling neglected and compromised by the prospect of losing space, she pulled up her socks and rose to the challenge. A professor states the new library is operating even better than before at its new location. He says "I have never been anything less than in awe of the professionalism and good humor she brings to her (often thankless) task." During the renovation and move she provided service with few interruptions, and was relentless in making sure the new library was built according to specs. A notable sign of respect to her by the faculty she serves is that they sometimes forget she is not a member of their department. Besides excellent management and leadership skills, she is also known for "providing information and reference service with competence and enthusiasm," always finding ways to satisfy users. One nominator says her performance "exemplifies the best the MIT Libraries have to offer." For extraordinary creativity and steadfast leadership in the Aero/Astro Library renovation, we give this award to Eileen Dorschner.


Communication and Collaboration: Robin Deadrick

An award for Communication and Collaboration goes to a colleague who has been consistent and resilient in the face of almost continuous change since her arrival almost twenty years ago. Through thick and thin, staff comings and goings, and seemingly endless transitions, her professional manner marks her as especially worthy of recognition. There are few staff whom everyone on the MIT Libraries staff meets, and lucky for each of us, this Infinite Mile Award winner is one of them. Regardless of what is on her plate, she offers to assist others, and addresses everyone's questions in a timely manner. She is invariably polite, unfailingly discrete, patient, good-humored and inspires trust. With quiet efforts in the background, she makes the work of committees and colleagues appear seamless. This nominee has had a growing responsibility for the coordination of some of the most important aspects of our work lives. We are ever grateful to her commitment to high quality staff, by serving both as an enthusiastic spokesperson at career fairs and as the interpreter of personnel policies for all in the Libraries. We are pleased to award one of this year’s Infinite Mile Awards to the MIT Libraries personnel administrator extraordinaire, Robin Deadrick.

Communication and Collaboration: Ellen Duranceau

We give an award for Communication and Collaboration to someone who, in the words of a nominator, "is one of the most dedicated professionals I've ever worked with. Her commitment to providing excellent service is absolute." This staff member occupies a pivotal role in the libraries. The shift from print to electronic resources is a messy business that we would be unable to accomplish without the skilled leadership that she provides. This is an area in which she has adapted to unanticipated complexities. Her skills are wide reaching and include group mediation, facilitation, negotiating contracts with vendors, and collaboration on the creation and quality control of Vera. She always searches for the best possible solution and never says, "never." Not only that, but she juggles the respective priorities of reference, collections, and instruction, and deals with budgetary constraints, limits on time, and limits of staffing. This person’s communication skills keep everyone informed and in the loop. She has developed strategies for effective teamwork in the face of enormous pressures and conflicting interests and priorities. She is a true leader, both professionally and personally, and in general makes an enormous contribution to the work that we all do. This award goes to Ellen Duranceau.

Community: Carol Frederick

An award for Community goes to someone who is in a "class by herself" (according to one nominator). Working during evening and weekend hours at a busy circulation desk, she fosters a sense of community, particularly with foreign and minority students, helping to create a "home-away-from-home" for many. She makes a REAL difference in the lives of students she has touched, truly connecting with them and giving a human face to the Institute. This kind of personal connection with students is something MIT is striving to improve, and we feel it's important to recognize such a rare gem in our own community. Constantly on the lookout for ways to provide improved service to patrons, she listens to their problems, knows their names, cares about them, and finds ways to help them out, from researching medical school scholarships to alerting students to lectures and opportunities outside of MIT. Her support and friendship has led to acknowledgement in numerous theses and at least one book. Several enthusiastic testimonials and a letter of support from students were enclosed in the nomination. To quote: "Those many occasions when she went above and beyond the call of duty do not go unnoticed or unappreciated." "She is a wealth of information, just like Barker Library in which she presides." For her extraordinary care and attention that give new meaning to "public service", we present this award to Carol Frederick.

Community: Walter Powers

We give an award for Community that recognizes someone’s labor of love over the last 25 years. Every spring he gathers together a ragtag team of Library staff, students, friends and family for friendly, collegial competition with others from the MIT community at large. He is, in the words of one nominator, their "godfather and poet laureate", often filling the roles of captain and manager. This team, open to all regardless of athletic ability, provides an opportunity for staff from all over the libraries to meet socially, fostering informal communication, collegiality and friendship. He brings great patience and humor to this enterprise that also requires a lot of behind-the-scenes administrative and organizational work, including maintenance of the team's web page. Every April his e-mail announcement is greatly anticipated by many for its poetry and wit, even by those who can’t swing a bat or catch flies. The ideal sportsman, he encourages all team members including those with lesser athletic prowess to play their best. Neither winning nor the final score are what ultimately satisfies him. For guiding the MIT Libraries’ Softball team "The Bibliotechs" through many years in the MIT Community Soft Ball League and to the 1995 Kentucky Fried League's Extra-Krispy Division championship, we give this award to Walter Powers.

Team Awards

Results, Outcome and Productivity: Ad-hoc Monograph Order Team & Monograph Acquisitions Team

Our next award for Results, Outcome and Productivity goes to a combination of two teams. The work and membership of these two teams are tightly related, and in the wake of the dog days of Barton downtime they showed their true mettle. But of course it was there all the time. One of them, an ad hoc team, worked off several months of backlogged orders and invoices within a period of a few weeks. Because of their efforts, the Libraries’ book budget was spent and a host of important, scholarly material could enter the processing pipeline and get to students and faculty that much sooner. For the other team, facing the demands of subject specialists and collection managers is a daily and ongoing concern. They keep in touch, apprising collection managers of their budgets throughout the day, and, by working cooperatively, allow money to be spent more effectively. Through their patience and grace, this sometimes anxious business can be conducted smoothly. A nominator said, "These folks take all our needs and requests seriously. I’ve never felt rebuffed. Not many groups manage to maintain such consistent equilibrium." The award goes to the Ad-hoc Monograph Order Team and the Monograph Acquisitions Team: Debbie Fazio, Charlene Follett, Bruce Goodchild, Betsy Granese, Whit Hill, Laura Lucero, and Garry Ziegler.

Results, Outcome and Productivity: LIDS Scanning Project Team

Have you ever anticipated the incoming tide, and found yourself facing a tidal wave? This team not only rode the waves, they made it safely to shore. An award for Results, Outcome and Productivity goes to a team whose project is not likely to get much recognition beyond their department because of its ‘behind-the-scenes’ nature but it is the type of effort that is vital to the Libraries’ goal to expand digital access to materials. The members of this team worked for 7 months over the past year to scan over 75,000 pages of publications of the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS). The initial proposal was to scan about 30,000 pages but as more and more boxes arrived, the count grew, as did the requirements and expectations of both the DSpace group and LIDS. The team juggled problems that came up along the way, and managed to deliver the ever-growing collection of documents to LIDS within the allotted time frame. Their workload was not lessened for them to work on this project; in fact, the two worked in tandem to complete the project without letting everything else slip. This team’s commitment to quality service, teamwork, and ability to work within the changing parameters of the assignment mark their contribution to the goals of the Libraries and the benefit of the Institute as worthy of special recognition. Both exhibited excellent judgment in responding to the changes, and to changes in technology and capabilities within the department. We are honored to recognize the persistence, hard work and dedication of Mike Cook and Neal Johnson.

FY02 Selection Committee:
Forrest Larson, Chair
Nicole Hennig
Christine Moulen
Nora Murphy
Gordon Thomas

2002 Infinite Mile Award Recipient Photos

Individual Awards

                                

Individual Awards

Back row: Tracy Gabridge, Margaret Bloom, Walter Powers, Ellen Duranceau, Robin Deadrick
Front row: Carol Frederick (Ann Wolpert) Eileen Dorschner

Team Awards

LIDS Scanning Project Team

Mike Cook, (Ann Wolpert), Neal Johnson

Results, Outcome, and Productivity: Ad-hoc Monograph Order Team & Monograph Acquisitions Team
Back row: Whit Hill, Garry Ziegler, Charlene Follett, Debbie Fazio, Bruce Goodchild
Front row: Betsy Granese, (Ann Wolpert), Laura Lucero

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