Beta Phi Mu celebrates 70 years

Beta Phi Mu, the library and information studies honor society, celebrates its seventieth anniversary this year. It was founded at the University of Illinois in August 1948 by a group of leading librarians and library educators to recognize and encourage scholastic achievement among library and information studies students.

Beta Phi Mu first initiation, 1948
Beta Phi Mu first initiation, 1948

The name Beta Phi Mu comes from the initials of the Greek words Bibliothekarios philax mathesis, meaning “librarians are the guardians of knowledge.” The society’s motto is “Aliis inserviendo consumor,” which when translated from Latin means “consumed in the service of others.” Eligibility for membership in the honor society is by invitation of the faculty from institutions where the American Library Association, or another accrediting agency, has accredited or recognized a professional degree program.

​Professor Emerita Kathryn Luther Henderson (MS ’51) was a founding member and the first secretary of the Beta Phi Mu Alpha Chapter at Illinois. Later she served as the chapter’s faculty advisor. In the spring 2008 issue of The Pipeline, a Beta Phi Mu publication, Henderson reflected, “My greatest joy has been to welcome into membership many of the outstanding students I have been privileged to work with and to see them take on leading roles in Beta Phi Mu at the national and Alpha Chapter levels.” Her husband, William T Henderson, served as president of the Alpha Chapter in its twenty-fifth year and was the chapter’s secretary-treasurer for many years.

Today there are 38 active chapters of Beta Phi Mu across the country, and more than 30,000 individuals have become members.

Alpha Chapter will hold its annual meeting on Saturday, October 27, 2018, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the iSchool. The initiation ceremony for new members will be held at 11:00 a.m. with a luncheon at noon, followed by a talk by Lynne M. Thomas (MS ’99), head of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Illinois. Thomas’ talk, “The Accidental Time Traveler,” will explore the intersection of time travel and rare books. The meeting and talk also will be available online. A renewal and invitation notice will be sent in September. Any alumni who have received an invitation to join at any point in time but who are not yet members are welcome to join now by contacting Professor Linda Smith, Alpha Chapter secretary/treasurer.

To celebrate the seventieth anniversary, Beta Phi Mu members are asked to consider making a donation, in a multiple or division of seventy, to the Alpha Chapter Beta Phi Mu Award Support Endowment Fund. To contribute to the fund, visit the iSchool’s online giving page or contact the Advancement Office at (217) 300-5746 or

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

McDowell named interim associate dean for academic affairs

Associate Professor Kate McDowell (MS '99, PhD '07) has been named interim associate dean for academic affairs, effective immediately. In this new role, she provides leadership and oversight for academic programs, including program development, curriculum coordination, and continuous improvement of educational experiences. 

Kate McDowell

Pintar joins the iSchool

Judith Pintar joined the iSchool in August 2018 as a senior lecturer. She previously served as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and as a visiting assistant professor in Sociology, where she earned her PhD.

Judith Pintar

New orientation model provides engaging, high-touch experience

Due to record enrollment this fall, the iSchool held new student orientation in the Illini Union Ballrooms for the very first time. According to Meg Edwards, assistant dean for student affairs, the new venue provided a welcoming experience for students and a wonderful opportunity to engage.

Twidale with students at orientation

Chinese students learn about information science through summer program

Associate Professor Jana Diesner taught a course on network analysis to Chinese students participating in the Information Science and Engineering Summer Program this past July. Sponsored by Global Education and Training (GET) at the University of Illinois, the two-week, hands-on program took place at the Urbana campus.

GET summer program-thumbnail view

Koh to join iSchool faculty

The iSchool is pleased to announce that Kyungwon Koh will join the faculty in August 2018. She is currently an associate professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Koh's areas of expertise include digital youth, the maker movement, learning and community engagement through libraries, human information behavior, and competencies for information professionals. 

Kyungwon Koh