Beta Phi Mu is the international honor society for professional librarians. The organization recognizes and encourages scholastic achievement among library and information studies students. There are over 23,000 graduates from accredited library and information science programs in the United States and Canada and abroad. The faculty nominates outstanding students who meet the requirements as defined by the society for invitations to join the society in the calendar year following their graduation.
The Iota Chapter represents two Library and Information programs in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area: Catholic University of America's Library and Information Science Department and University of Maryland's iSchool.
Beta Phi Mu, the library and information science honor society, was founded at the University of Illinois in August, 1948, by a group of leading librarians and library educators. Aware of the notable achievements of honor societies in other professions, they believed that such a society would have much to offer librarianship and library education. The first initiation was held in the spring of 1949 at the University of Illinois. The society was ably served by Rolland Stevens as first President and Harold Lancour as first Executive Secretary. Its significance was recognized in 1968 when Beta Phi Mu was formally admitted to membership in the Association of College Honor Societies.
Motto and Insignia
Since librarians and other information professionals are dedicated to the service of others, Beta Phi Mu has chosen as its motto, "Aliis inserviendo consumor", meaning "Consumed in the service of others." The insignia of Beta Phi Mu is the dolphin and anchor, mark of the Venetian printer, Aldus Manutius. Not only did Aldus strive to create beautiful editions of the Greek and Latin Classics, but he dedicated his life to making his works accessible to many. Gold and Black keys and pins bearing the Beta Phi Mu insignia are available to members from the national office of Beta Phi Mu.
A current list and details of scholarships offered by Beta Phi Mu is available at http://www.betaphimu.org/scholarships.html. These scholarship include:
- The Sarah Rebecca Reed Scholarship for a beginning student at the Master's level accepted in an American Library Association accredited program is named for a teacher, librarian, Director of the School of Library Science at Emporia Kansas State College, and the 25th President of Beta Phi Mu. In 1968 she was honored by ALA and Beta Phi Mu with the Award for Distinguished Service to Education for Librarianship. This dynamic leader was characterized as one for whom "there was no such thing as impossible" and "through leadership of rare excellence she made a permanent contribution to humanity. Therein lies her immortality."
- The Frank B. Sessa Scholarship is granted to a Beta Phi Mu member for a Continuing Education experience. This scholarship honors an emeritus professor of the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh who also served as Director of the Miami Public Library. Dr. Sessa was the 26th President of Beta Phi Mu and served as Executive Secretary from 1975-1980.
- The Harold Lancour Scholarship for Foreign Study is available to an information professional interested in conducting a research project. Dr. Lancour, one of the founders of Beta Phi Mu, served as Executive Secretary for 25 years. Dean Emeritus of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Lancour encouraged an international student body and accepted assignments from a variety of organizations to carry his expertise to such diverse countries as England, France, Mali, Guatemala, Iran, Chile, Nigeria, and Wales. Dr. Lancour was also one of the founders and first editor of the Journal of Education for Librarianship and managing editor for the first ten years of Library Trends.
For details concerning application for Beta Phi Mu scholarships, contact the national headquarters:
Beta Phi Mu Honor Society
PO Box 42139
Philadelphia, PA 19101