Department: School of Library and Information Management

Library school, campus celebrate alumna's legacy

April 8, 2015

The life of Geraldine Strader, an esteemed alumna of both The Teachers College and the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University, will be celebrated with an 80th birthday reception on Friday, April 10.

The reception will be held from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Learning Commons of the William Allen White Library on the ESU campus. The community is invited.

While a student at The Teachers College, Strader was one of only eight African-American students enrolled at Emporia State and one of the first African-American women to live in Abigail Morse Hall. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in foreign languages (French and Spanish) and home economics in 1957, Strader went on to earn a master’s in librarianship in 1967. As a life-long learner, she continued her studies at the University of Kansas in education, earning a specialist degree and completing all the necessary course work for a Ph.D. 

Strader put all of this learning to work with USD 500 in Kansas City, Kansas, as a librarian at Northeast Junior High School, Washington High School and F.L. Schlagle High School, retiring in 1995. Before her 32 years in Kansas City, she taught Spanish and French at Topeka West High and library science at Emporia State, St. Mary’s College and Wichita State University.

In addition to her professional career, Strader was a world traveler, visiting Central and South America, Africa, Asia and Europe. After her retirement, she became an expert quilter. She was an active community advocate and taught quilting to the students of Oak Ridge Freedom School and at the KCK Shepherd’s Center. She was also a long-time member of the Pierian Literary Club, which was founded in 1894 and is one of the oldest African-American literary clubs.

Strader lived as a pioneer during the civil rights era and served as a role model for all who followed. As a high school librarian, she helped all students enjoy freedom of access to information, develop critical thinking skills and learn to use their education to add to their enjoyment of life.

The faculty and staff of the School of Library and Information Management and the William Allen White Library invite the community to join them in celebrating the extraordinary life of  Strader, who passed away in 2014.

Said Dr. Gwen Alexander, dean of the School of Library and Information Management: “We are remembering Geraldine’s many contributions to breaking barriers for African-American women and the role of the library in high school education at her 80th birthday party with music, refreshments, a quilt display of her work and memories of a life well-lived.”