Professor Searls was granted emeritus status in 2000 after 48 years as the director of the Omer Poos Law Library and professor of law at Saint Louis University School of Law. She is widely accepted as the person who built the library. In 1987, the Women's Commission of Saint Louis University named Searls Woman of the Year. In 1991, the Mid-America Association of Law Libraries named her Distinguished Service Law Librarian. In 1999, the American Association of Law Libraries gave her the Marian Gould Gallagher Distinguished Service Award. At the School of Law, she was the first woman to be promoted to full professor and the first to receive tenure. She is a member of the American Library Association, the American Association of Law Libraries, the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians. She has been president of the Mid-America Association of Law Libraries, Mid-America Law School Library Consortium and she is chairman of the Conference of Law Libraries of the ASCU.