Beta Phi Mu
Initiation Ritual

No date

The members should be seated in front of a table which is covered in white. In the center of the table there should be a gold lamp. On the left of the lamp should be the Great Roll which the initiates are to sign. At the right should be the insignia of the society, the dolphin and anchor, (pins, keys, etc.).
Four members will be required to perform the initiatory work. These shall be the President, the Speaker representing Scholarship, the Speaker representing Service, and the Guide. The speakers are to be seated behind the table.
The Guide shall be stationed just outside the door of the chapter room prior to the initiation ceremony. His duty is to form the initiates into a line, alphabetically according to their last names, to instruct them to follow him into the chapter room and to form a semi-circle in front of the table which they will find there, and to perform such other duties as are necessary to conducting the initiates into the chapter room in an orderly and dignified manner.
Soft lights are to be used to illuminate the room. The gold lamp in the center of the table must be lighted before the initiates are led into the room. The only exception to this rule is the first service in a new chapter, which is preceded by the Installation Service during which the lamp will be lighted.
The speeches in the initiation service may be delivered from memory or read from the rituals.
When the chapter room is ready and the members and speakers are seated, the president rises, raps once on the table for attention, and remains standing while addressing the initiates.
PRESIDENT: We have gathered here to initiate into our society new members who meet the academic and professional requirements set forth by our By-Laws and who have expressed their wish to join with us. While we, in bestowing membership upon them, do them honor, they too, we should remember, honor us in accepting it.
To a person seated near the door: Please ask the Guide to conduct the initiates into the room.
MEMBER, to Guide: Will you come in please?
Guide leads initiates in and arranges them in a semi-circle before the table. Guide remains standing at right of line throughout the ceremony, and at the proper time indicates to each initiate the place to sign the Great Roll.
GUIDE: These initiates have been declared eligible for membership in Beta Phi Mu by virtue of their superior scholastic records, their character, and their professional promise. They have been recommended by their library schools for this recognition.
PRESIDENT: We extend to you a most cordial welcome. Your election to our society signifies our belief that you have the capacity and the motivation for outstanding service to the field of librarianship and information science and we are sincerely pleased and deeply honored that you have accepted our invitation to join with us.
Ours is a democratic profession and we share equal responsibility for its progress and its success. However, in any democratic community each can contribute only to the extent of his ability. As you have already demonstrated superior ability in scholarship, more will be expected of you than of others, but our profession has no place for a society of those who meet solely for the purpose of congratulating one another on good work. We must recognize the deficiencies and needs of our profession and constantly strive to correct and fill them; this requires a critical objectivity towards our work.
Beta Phi Mu, to justify its existence, must be prepared to adopt measures of positive action when the need appears. We cannot work alone but must join with others in suitable enterprise which promote the welfare of librarianship and information science.
Our first purpose is Scholarship and it is to this that our first representative speaks. President sits down.
SPEAKER REPRESENTING SCHOLARSHIP, rises and speaks as follows: The scholar is influenced by study of the past, and by the work which is done in transferring knowledge into use. Books are the best source for the study of the past and along with other media enable people to transfer that ever expanding knowledge into present and future use.
The letters Beta Phi Mu have a special significance for us since they are the initial letters of the Greek words biblioteki froneos medeontes, Libraries are the guardians of knowledge.
The insignia of our society is the dolphin and anchor, mark of the Venetian printer, Aldus Manutius. "I have made a vow," said Aldus Manutius, "to devote my life to the public service, and God is my witness that such is my most ardent desire." Like Aldus we must devote ourselves to the advancement of human good.
For this reason our second purpose is Service. First Speaker sits down.
SPEAKER REPRESENTING SERVICE, rises and speaks: Our motto is "Aliis inserviendo consumor" which means I am consumed in the service of others. This motto, we feel, is most appropriate for a society of librarians and information scientists for it is essential that we dedicate ourselves to the service of others in order to further our educational objectives.
Our profession reaches its highest aims in the fruitful application of knowledge to practice. Second speaker sits down.
PRESIDENT, rises and speaks:  The lamp is the ancient symbol of learning. For this brief ceremony we have adopted it as the symbol of our group ideals.
We ask that you accept this symbol as a simple means of focusing our attention upon the serious concerns of truly professional endeavor. The heat and light of the flame symbolize labor and devotion; the lamp itself universal education.
I now declare you members of Beta Phi Mu. Please step forward in turn, as the Guide will direct you, and sign your name to the Great Roll. President reads names.
After all have been signed, PRESIDENT: Your names are now inscribed on the Great Roll. Please turn to face the members who will greet you.
Members designated to pin ribbons on the initiates go forward first and congratulate new members as they pin them. Other members follow to congratulate initiates.