From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Gaylord, Ruth A. Burton

(born: 1938) 

Born in Richmond, KY, Ruth Gaylord graduated from Richmond High School in 1956, Berea College in 1962, and the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Library and Information Science in 1984. She was first a library assistant for the Lexington (KY) Public Library's "InMobile," a bookmobile that provided library services to children in the Lexington inner-city areas. The service was headquartered at the Black and Williams Cultural Center on Georgetown Street.

While working full-time, Gaylord was also raising four children and caring for her critically ill husband, who was frequently in the hospital; Mr. Harry Gaylord passed away in 1981.

Ruth completed her M.S. in Library Science in 1984, becoming the eighth African American to graduate from the UK Library Science program (at the time the College of Library and Information Science) and the first to be employed at the Lexington Public Library. Gaylord said that being the first and only African American librarian at the Lexington Public Library was particularly a challenge so early in her career, but she was determined to succeed. Ruth is not bitter about the past because it was a wise decision for her to attend library school, and she loved being a librarian.

Gaylord was the Assistant Manager at the Eagle Creek Branch (now the Eastside Branch) in 2006 when she was nominated by the Lexington Public Library for the Lyman T. Johnson Award. She was selected by the University of Kentucky Libraries and the School of Library and Information Science as one of two recipients to receive the Lyman T. Johnson Award for her many years of service as a librarian and for her perseverance, dedication, and contributions to the profession.

Ruth Burton Gaylord retired from the Lexington Public Library, May 2008. She is the mother of librarian Harry A. Gaylord.

For more information see "Profile on Ruth Gaylord," News from Lexington Public Library, Sept./Oct., 1984, p. 3;and  "Frye, Gaylord receive Torch Award," Lexington Herald-Leader, 12/6/2006, Communities section, p. D2. Hear Ruth Gaylord interviewed at The Lexington Public Library website, 2/5/2020; and at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, 12/3/2010.

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Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Gaylord, Harry A.
NKAA Source: News from Lexington Public Library (periodical)
NKAA Source: Lexington herald-leader (newspaper)
NKAA Entry: African American Schools in Madison County, KY

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“Gaylord, Ruth A. Burton,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 25, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-07-23 16:51:45