The Richmond Register

Local News

November 28, 2006

Richmond native receives Torch of Excellence Award

Richmond native Ruth Gaylord, a nominee of the University of Kentucky Libraries and the School of Library and Information Sciences (SLIS) in the College of Communications and Information Studies, has been named a recipient of a 2006 Torch of Excellence Award.

The Lyman T. Johnson Alumni Constituent Group takes nominations from each college annually for both the Torch of Excellence Awards and Torch Bearer Awards. The Torch of Excellence honors alumni who have succeeded nationally, statewide and locally.

Those honorees then “pass on” their faith, determination, hard work and academic excellence to current undergraduate students who have shown those same qualities. The undergraduate students then become “torchbearers” for their colleges.

The Libraries and the SLIS have been honored to be able to participate in the Lyman T. Johnson awards so that the stories of important Kentucky librarians can be told, said Dean of UK Libraries Carol Diedrichs and SLIS Director Tim Sineath upon learning of Gaylord’s award recognition.

The award was presented earlier this month to Gaylord, a UK alumna, at the Lyman T. Johnson Alumni Constituent Group’s 16th annual Homecoming Awards Banquet at Lexington’s Radisson Plaza Hotel.

Multidisciplinary artist and scholar Frank X Walker was the guest speaker at the awards banquet honoring this year’s winners.

Gaylord earned her master’s of science in library science from UK in 1984. She joined Lexington Public Library upon graduation from UK. She was the first full-time black professional librarian with Lexington Public Library.

Gaylord graduated from Richmond High School in 1956 prior to the integration of the school system and earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Berea College in 1962.

After moving to Lexington and working as a substitute teacher, Gaylord was intrigued by a Lexington Public Library position listed in the classifieds, remembering how she felt not welcome in her town’s library as a child. Curiosity and faith led her to apply for a bookmobile driver position at the Black and Williams Cultural Center in 1977. The bookmobile, known then as the “InMobile,” served Lexington's inner city neighborhoods.

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