Beta Phi Mu, the International Library and Information Studies Honor Society, was founded at the University of Illinois in August 1948. Since then, Beta Phi Mu has been recognizing superior efforts in library and information studies and encouraging librarians and students to achieve excellence in their work. To this end, the over-10,000 member honorary society annually awards a citation and cash grant to one notable individual contributing to the field of librarianship. Beta Phi Mu also sponsors career conferences, hosts an annual reception at the American Library Association convention and promotes professional librarianship.
Pi Lambda Sigma, which was founded at Syracuse University in 1903, is the oldest library honor society in the United States. The chapter follows the motto of the Greek words Paideia, Logos and Sunophelimoi. These words bring together the best qualities of the profession – culture, the expression of thought, and service. In 1959, Pi Lambda Sigma affiliated with Beta Phi Mu, the international library and information studies honor society, to expand local efforts in the areas of library and information studies.