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 imitation 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.
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.
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Beta Omega Chapter
In September 1980, Dr. Martha Jane Zachert began the series of events, which eventually led to the creation of the Beta Omega Chapter of Beta Phi Mu at the University of South Carolina. To establish the chapter, ten members of the national Beta Phi Mu living in the Columbia area petitioned the executive council. In 1981, those petitions and other documents, including a letter of approval from Dean F. William Summers, were submitted to the Beta Phi Mu executive council. When the council next met, they approved the application unanimously. In 1982, Dan Barron, faculty representative, Beta Omega Steering Committee, sent a letter to the College of Librarianship alumni announcing the charter approval, as well as plans for the charter installation ceremonies for past graduates of the college with national membership in Beta Phi Mu. The installation ceremonies were held in Currell College on May 22, 1982.
Bob Noe, Beta Omega's first elected president, organized the first initiation of new members in June 1983. To encourage scholarship and library service, Beta Omega co-sponsors the Dean's Lectures and sponsors a scholarship for currently enrolled library school students. Beta Omega initiates new members each spring.