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MIT Libraries Rewards and Recognition: Infinite Mile Awards Program

Nominate for the Infinite Mile awards!

Please submit your nominations here

The nomination period will run through May 3, 2024.

Want to nominate someone, but not sure what to write? Check out some sample nominations, or see a list of tips for writing successful nominations.



Infinite Mile Awards Program

The Infinite Mile Awards are given each year in June to recognize both support staff and administrative staff for exceptional achievements and contributions to the MIT Libraries over the previous year. Candidates for these awards are nominated by members of the library staff and awardees are chosen by a committee comprised of library peers. 

Mission Statement
The MIT Libraries' Infinite Mile Award Program is a peer recognition program, recognizing exceptional contributions, achievements, and endeavors from both Support and Administrative Staff, which support the Libraries' Mission. Collection, access, and stewardship of resources, education of users, and elevation of the Libraries' profile across the MIT community, as well as internal organizational improvements and services, represent some of the areas in which individuals and teams are able to make noteworthy contributions. Recognition will target both one-time/ad hoc projects and the ongoing work which sustains the Libraries' role as primary information provider to the MIT community.

Need more information? See the specifics of the Infinite Mile Awards Program.


Award categories

Award Opportunities
Deliverance of sustained, exceptional work, translation of strategic goals and values into actions, implementation of effective change, and leadership, in all its forms and at all levels, constitute performance worthy of recognition. Awards may be given for completed activities as well as achieving major milestones toward ongoing activities.

Awards are given to individuals and teams* based on the eight award categories. Up to eight awards may be given, the compilation of which may include any combination of award categories and forms (individual or team) based on the merit of the nominations. The maximum number of awards given (eight) is established for budgetary reasons and is not intended to match the number of award categories, as these may change from time to time.

*A team is defined as any group working together with a common purpose or to achieve a common goal. There is no size restriction. A team can be as few as two people and as many as an entire department.


Award Categories
Following are the eight award areas, along with examples of some of the accomplishments, actions, and/or qualities that may be exemplified by the awardees. These lists are intended to provide helpful guidelines in thinking about the awards. They should not be viewed as limiting or restrictive but rather a general description of those things we value as an organization and want to recognize. There may be other similar qualities, actions, and accomplishments that would fall into these award categories.



This individual or team embodies the Libraries’ values of openness, inquiry, the pursuit of social justice, and an ethic of care. They inspire and encourage their colleagues to bring those values to our everyday work and help to create an environment that allows as many of us to bring our full selves to work as possible. Recipients of this award:

  • Act with integrity to inspire excellence in all of us through their attitude, outlook, and spirit;
  • Mediate conflict among others;
  • Model an ethic of care in their work with colleagues;
  • Provide mentorship to colleagues and students in achieving their work and professional goals;
  • Foster an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment by valuing differences and  respecting the unique talents that individuals bring to the organization;
  • Break down boundaries, rethink possibilities, and set new goals for themselves and their teams to make the Libraries the best that it can be.



This individual or team embodies the values of inclusivity and collaboration. Recipients of this award:

  • Work with others to identify collaborative solutions to community-wide challenge;
  • Approach work with our community and our staff from an ethic of care;
  • Find ways to promote many voices to reflect diversity of both knowledge itself and ways of knowing in our collections, and our approach to information management and organization;
  • Use a participatory model to seek and include ideas from others who have different backgrounds, beliefs, approaches, and styles;
  • Enrich collaborations and group interactions through engagement, active listening, and thoughtful reflection;
  • Recognize and encourage unique strengths and perspectives in a collaborative setting.



This award is presented to individuals or groups of individuals dedicated to creating an inclusive culture by building community, promoting social justice, and equity within the Libraries and/or the MIT community. These award recipients:

  • Build bridges, both formal and informal, to bring others together;
  • Lead by example to foster relationships, help others, share resources, and to effect positive change in the Libraries and the Institute;
  • Enact social justice by addressing inequalities and strives to create a welcoming and inclusive workplace/service environment for all staff, patrons, and community members, especially members of historically marginalized groups;
  • Consistently model the values of transparency, openness, curiosity, inquiry, the pursuit of social justice, and an ethic of care in their relationships with others;
  • Engage in activities and initiatives that demonstrate and value the promotion of equity, inclusion, and diversity throughout our services and promote a supportive and overall positive library environment for staff, patrons, and community members.



This individual or team consistently keeps users in mind when implementing or supporting the services and offerings of the Libraries. Recipients of this award:

  • Express a welcoming attitude and proactive manner when working with a wide variety of users and colleagues. Be an accessible, responsive, and valuable resource to users and colleagues, sharing knowledge, ideas and support;
  • Consistently anticipate and act on user needs and potential problems by going the extra mile;
  • Recognize and seize opportunities to continually improve service and support in meaningful ways;
  • Develop and/or champion services that are welcoming and inclusive of members of groups who are currently or historically denied full participation in society;
  • Advocate for diverse ways of knowing and creating to advance human understanding.



This individual or team seeks new or different ways – big or small – to accomplish their work in the service of the mission and vision of MIT Libraries. They are creative and apply analytical thinking and innovation to solve hard problems and tackle grand challenges in their work. These award recipients:

  • Demonstrate imaginative thinking and a passion for experimentation and innovation;
  • Show creativity and ingenuity in identifying problems and implementing solutions;
  • Take thoughtful risks and embrace both successes and failures as essential to learning;
  • Actively seek novel methods, approaches, services, or technologies.



These individuals or teams through their work efforts harness our shared values and resources at MIT Libraries to positively make an impact and advance our vision a world where enduring, abundant, equitable, and meaningful access to information serves to empower and inspire humanity in support of the the MIT mission and so that it can be brought to bear on the world's great challenges and in the cause of social justice. Recipients:

  • Translate our vision and mission into actions that generate project results and outcomes reflecting our values;
  • Effectively and equitably manage priorities, time, and resources to accomplish tasks and initiatives which make an impact;
  • Demonstrate great effort, energy, and focus in successfully bringing a project or task to fruition;
  • Critically examine existing workflows, develop new workflows, and improve infrastructure;
  • Harness resources to remove obstacles to move MIT Libraries towards realizing our vision.



This individual or team asks the tough questions and critical thinking produce the kind of productive tension that leads to stronger ideas and solutions, ultimately creating a stronger organization. These award recipients:

  • Raise questions that need to be asked and surface the underlying issues and root causes;
  • Offer insightful, inquisitive, challenging feedback that might be difficult and uncomfortable;
  • Encourage and participate in thought-provoking discussions regarding work, organizational culture, our values, and our mission;
  • Question the status quo or the prevailing wisdom, especially in terms of infrastructure and inclusion;
  • Analyze current practices that are not in line with our values.



The Unsung Hero understands what they can do to impact the functioning of our community in a meaningful way that reflects our values. These individuals or teams have substantive and positive impacts on the Libraries that are often unrecognized. Recipients of this award:

  • Are a dependable, steady presence;
  • Quietly fill in the gaps where needed without fanfare;
  • Embody reliability, perseverance and focus in accomplishing their work;
  • Share valuable knowledge, ideas and advice that increase our individual and collective successes;
  • Communicate knowledge of the organization and work with others to resolve issues and concerns.                         


The Christine Moulen “GOOD CITIZEN” Award

Our dear colleague Christine Moulen exhibited so many of the qualities that the Infinite Mile Awards recognize. In honor of Christine’s memory, this award would be presented to individuals who exhibit one of Christine’s many wonderful qualities, good citizenship, within the Libraries and/or MIT community. Recipients of this award may:

•             Exhibit a “How can I help?” attitude, a general willingness to support others any way they can

•             Demonstrate innovative and spontaneous behaviors that promote the work of the organization

•             Improve effectiveness within a team by sharing expertise, knowledge, and information

•             Resolve conflicts between teammates to promote cohesion

•             Communicate effectively about impacts on others before taking action

•             Support teammates and the work of the organization with courtesy and generosity


*Award amount will be additional and consistent with amount of the infinite mile award.

Award funding

Award Program Funding
Funds for the Libraries' Rewards and Recognition Program are provided by the Institute. This allocation is intended to cover the cost of both Infinite Mile Awards and Spot Awards, as well as costs associated with awards ceremonies/events. The Libraries' Director of Human Resources is responsible for managing the Rewards and Recognition budget, in consultation with the Director of Finance and the Rewards and Recognition Committee Chair.

Form of Awards
As the number of awards and the number of individuals (i.e. team membership) receiving them will vary in any given year, the form and amounts of the awards distributed will not be pre-determined. The Rewards and Recognition Committee will determine award amounts as well as the form of awards, having the options of both cash awards and gift certificates. All individual awards for any one year will be for the same amount. This would also apply for the amount given to team members, i.e. each member of a given team will receive an equal amount (amounts may occasionally vary between teams based on team-size). In the case of gift certificates, recipients will be given choices within a pre-determined dollar amount.

Nomination process and schedule

Award Schedule
The award year runs concurrently with the fiscal year, July 1 through June 30. An award event will be held each year in mid- June, during which awards will be presented by the Director of Libraries and/or others as appropriately assigned by the Committee.

Note: the annual Rewards and Recognition Award event is separate and apart from the Libraries' annual service award event held in January.

Nomination Schedule and Process
Solicitation of nominations will begin once the Rewards and Recognition Committee has had an opportunity to conduct the program review with a target date of early January. Solicitation will occur according to the Committee's established schedule via email and/or paper mailings. Nominations must be made using a nomination form created by the Committee. Nominations should be submitted to the Libraries’ Director of HR. Nominations are encouraged from ALL staff. Nominators may make multiple nominations (on separate forms).


  • No self-nominations or anonymous nominations will be accepted.
  • Members of the Libraries Rewards and Recognition Committee may not submit nominations.
  • Members of the Rewards and Recognition Committee are not eligible to receive individual awards, however, they may be considered for an award as a result of their team membership.
  • Nominations from non-library staff will not be accepted. In these cases, nominators will be encouraged to submit their nominations for consideration as part of the Institute's Excellence Award Program.


Selection Process
After the nomination deadline has passed, the Libraries' Rewards and Recognition Committee will review all nominations and determine the number of awards and the award category for each (suggested maximum is four individual and four team). Nominations will be judged within the context of the established criteria. Should Committee members require additional information or clarification for their deliberations, they will seek this information through the Libraries' Director for HR.

The committee will submit the names of chosen award recipients (and the corresponding award amounts allocated) to the HR Director for final review by the AD's. This should happen six weeks prior to the scheduled award event in June. Within two weeks, the Director for HR will meet with the Rewards and Recognition Committee to relay the AD's' response and to discuss any related issues.


  • Award recipients must be in the employ of the MIT Libraries on the day of the award event in order to be eligible to receive an Infinite Mile Award.
  • Individual award recipients are not eligible to receive individual awards in consecutive award years. However, team member recipients are eligible to receive an award the following year either as a team member or individual.
  • Should a member of the Rewards and Recognition Committee be nominated to receive an award as a member of a team, he/she must not participate in committee deliberations pertaining to that particular award category.


Notification Process
Prior to the award event, award recipients will receive a letter from the Director of Libraries informing them that they will be formally recognized with an award on the scheduled date of the award event. Letters to team award recipients will include names of all members of the team. Copies of the notification letter will also be sent to the nominator and the nominees' Department Head.

Note: In order to maintain some element of surprise for staff, the names of award recipients will be disclosed to only those in receipt of the award letter and will be kept confidential until the award event.

Program Review
During the months of July, August, and September, the past and current Rewards and Recognition Committees will have time to meet and review the program. Should any changes be needed, the current committee will prepare the proposed changes for the Associate Directors' review. Approved changes to the program will be in place by January 1.


R&R Committee

Rewards and Recognition Committee
Membership: Committee members will be invited to serve by the Libraries' R&R Key contact (Cherry Ibrahim). Suggestions and volunteers will be considered. The Libraries' Rewards and Recognition Committee will be comprised of a composite representation, as best as possible, of the library staff. Terms will be for one year beginning in early Fall and running through late summer. Responsibilities of committee members will be to:

  1. Meet with outgoing Rewards and Recognition Committee to review previous year process and identify any issues for resolution during transition phase (July 1 through September 30). Propose changes, if any, to Libraries' Steering Committee for consideration.
  2. Establish schedule and initiate calls for nominations (Nomination period may begin as early as October 1 and as late as January 1).
  3. Participate in monthly Spot Award drawing.
  4. Review Infinite Mile nominations and select award recipients.
  5. Propose award amounts and form of awards (cash or gift certificate) for Infinite Mile awards.
  6. Schedule, plan, and facilitate Infinite Mile Award event.

Program Facilitation
The R&R Key Contact will be responsible for providing administrative support to the Rewards and Recognition Committee and for the facilitation of some aspects of the program including committee appointments, nomination distributions, maintenance of program web site, procurement of awards, and serving as the Institute's R&R key contact. S/he will also manage the Rewards and Recognition budget, as allocated by the Institute, in consultation with the Associate Director for Administration and the Rewards and Recognition Committee Chair.