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Beta Phi Mu

Beta Phi Mu

Welcome! 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.



Founded in 1967, the Lambda Chapter represents the University of Oklahoma School of Library and Information Studies. The chapter currently has 172 enrolled members.


Lambda Chapter’s Bylaws can be viewed on the National Beta Phi Mu website

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Membership Levels

There are currently two ways to join Beta Phi Mu. The first is to become nominated by the faculty of the University of Oklahoma School of Library & Information Studies. Each spring the faculty chooses outstanding recent graduates with a GPA of 3.75 or above who have demonstrated high levels of engagement, academic and scholastic success, and the potential to become leaders in the library community, and forwards these names to the Lambda Chapter for formal membership invitations. Only 35% of each year’s graduating class may be nominated for membership. Nominees who accept the invitation are then inducted into the Lambda Chapter in a ceremony held during the Oklahoma Library Association’s annual conference.

The second way to become a member of Beta Phi Mu is to join as a professional member. This carries other eligibility requirements, such as contributions to the profession, letters of recommendation, and serving as a leader in the library community for a certain period of years. This membership level is a great way for librarians who have never been nominated or who have moved out of state from their library school to join their local Beta Phi Mu chapter.


National dues are paid by each nominee before induction.

Lambda Chapter dues are $25 each year, payable by check or through our Paypal link. Lambda Chapter nominees who are not Professional-Level members also have the option to pay $250 lifetime dues.

About Beta Phi Mu

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.

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.

Awards and Scholarships

The Irma Raye Tomberlin Award is unique to the Lambda Chapter, honoring and recognizing a library legend in the state of Oklahoma. Dr. Tomberlin was a Professor of Library Science at the University of Oklahoma from 1962-1985, and a long-time sponsor and national representative of Lambda Chapter. This award was established to recognize a student who is enrolled in the School of Library and Information Studies of the University of Oklahoma and who holds a distinguished rank in their class in the school.

Faculty members of the University of Oklahoma School of Library and Information Studies nominate students for the Tomberlin Award. Nominees are asked to write an essay and submit their resume. The winner will receive a monetary prize as well as their name engraved on the award plaque.

For information regarding the Irma Raye Tomberlin Scholarship, please contact the Lambda Chapter at

A current list and details of scholarships offered by Beta Phi Mu at the National Level is available at These scholarships 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.

Contact Information

For details concerning application for Beta Phi Mu scholarships, contact the national headquarters:

Beta Phi Mu Honor Society
PO Box 42139
Philadelphia, PA  19101
Phone: 267-361-5018