Alpha Beta Alpha

Alpha Beta Alpha
FoundedMay 3, 1950; 73 years ago (May 3, 1950)
Northwestern State College of Louisiana
MottoBooks, People, Service, Life
Colors  Royal Purple and   White
SymbolBook, Quill pen
FlowerWhite Rose
PublicationThe Alphabet (formerly)
Chapters2 active
HeadquartersKutztown, Pennsylvania
WebsiteABA home page

Alpha Beta Alpha (ΑΒΑ) is a national honorary library fraternity that is dedicated to serving college and university library science majors at the undergraduate level. The fraternity has two active chapters, the restored Alpha chapter at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and Rho chapter, situated at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. 37 chapters have been installed.


Alpha Beta Alpha was founded at Northwestern State College of Louisiana on May 3, 1950. It was the first co-educational undergraduate library science fraternity to be established.

The idea of such an organization was first discussed at a banquet on the campus in 1945 at which were present some forty library science students and librarians with several dignitaries including Nora Buest of the U.S. Office of Education, Sue Hefley, Louisiana State Supervisor of School Libraries, and Mary Harris, Assistant State Librarian. Attendees spoke of the need for a nationwide professional development organization geared towards library science students. The banquet, held on October 30, 1945, was hosted by Eugene P. Watson on the campus of Northwestern State College of Louisiana, now known as Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana.[2]

The following year, on January 10, 1946, the Northwestern State College Library Club was founded. Finally, on May 3, 1950, the members of the Scharlie E. Russel Library Club founded Alpha Beta Alpha, the first co-educational library science fraternity in the United States. Two years later, on March 15 and March 16, the first Alpha Beta Alpha national convention was held at Northwestern State College of Louisiana.[2]

Charter members[edit]

The charter members were: Helen Belisle, Marguerite Bozeman, Mrs. Lucille Carnahan, Agnes Clark, Billie June Corry, Randall Detro, Mary Alice Driscoll, Julia Duke, Patsy Eason, Bobbie Elkins, Ruth Ann Ellender, Yvonne Ewing, Myrtle Freeze, Sue Gilmore, Maurine Gray, May Hammett, Sallie Harper, Katherine Hopkins, Audrey Jo King, Dorothy Keyser, Mrs. Johnnie Mallory, Irene Pope, Olive Roberts, Freida Squyres, Charles Thigpen, Warren Tracy, Tommie Jean Tullos, Dr. Eugene Watson, Mrs. Ora Williams, and Avis Jean Windham.[2]


The badge is in the shape of a closed book, behind which a quill pen is placed vertically; diagonally across the book are the letters Α, Β and Α. The pledge button is in the shape of a shield and is crossed by a diagonal line. The blazon of the official coat of arms is as follows:

  • Arms: purpure [purple], on a bend argent [silver], three Greek letters ΑΒΑ, of the first between; in chief, a white rose-leaved vert; and in base, the reproduction of the ΑΒΑ key.
  • Crest: on a wreath of the colors, a candle holder argent holding a candle purpure, flamed and resplendent, or [gold].
  • The motto is Books, People, Service, Life.
  • The fraternity colors are purple and white.
  • The official flower is a white rose.
  • The official seal is round in shape with a reproduction of the badge in the center and with the name of the fraternity and the date encircling the badge.[3]


Chapters as of 1968. Active chapters noted in bold, inactive chapters in italics.[2][4][5]

Name Chartered Institution Location Status Notes Reference
Alpha May 3, 1950–20xx, 2018 Northwestern State University Natchitoches, Louisiana Active
Beta December 2, 1950 Mississippi University for Women Columbus, Mississippi Inactive
Gamma February 3, 1952 Indiana State University Terre Haute, Indiana Inactive
Delta January 10, 1953 University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, Alabama Inactive
Epsilon January 17, 1953 Murray State University Murray, Kentucky Inactive
Zeta April 11, 1953 Concord University Athens, West Virginia Inactive
Eta May 6, 1953 Texas Woman's University Denton, Texas Inactive
Theta May 23, 19531970 Arizona State University Tempe, Arizona Inactive
Iota 19531968 San Jose State University San Jose, California Inactive
Kappa April 12, 19541972 Millersville University of Pennsylvania Millersville, Pennsylvania Inactive
Lambda April 14, 1954 Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, Louisiana Inactive
Mu February 25, 1956 Illinois State University Normal, Illinois Inactive
Nu April 15, 19561975 Marshall University Huntington, West Virginia Inactive
Xi May 26, 19561971 University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, Iowa Inactive
Omicron April 5, 1957 Florida A&M University Tallahassee, Florida Inactive
Pi April 13, 19571967 Our Lady of the Lake University San Antonio, Texas Inactive
Rho November 20, 1957 Kutztown University of Pennsylvania Kutztown, Pennsylvania Active
Sigma March 22, 19581971 Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, Michigan Inactive
Tau 1958May 1964 Northern Illinois University DeKalb, Illinois Inactive
Upsilon November 1, 1958 Shepherd University Shepherdstown, West Virginia Inactive
Phi January 16, 19601970 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, Michigan Inactive
Chi March 31, 19601973 University of North Texas Denton, Texas Inactive
Psi May 22, 1960 Southeast Missouri State University Cape Girardeau, Missouri Inactive
Omega November 17, 19601968 University of Tennessee Knoxville, Tennessee Inactive
Alpha Alpha April 8, 1961 James Madison University Harrisonburg, Virginia Inactive
Alpha Beta April 14, 1961 Nicholls State University Thibodaux, Louisiana Inactive
Alpha Gamma November 10, 1962 Morehead State University Morehead, Kentucky Inactive
Alpha Delta October 17, 1963 Oklahoma State University–Stillwater Stillwater, Oklahoma Inactive
Alpha Epsilon November 20, 1963 University of North Alabama Florence, Alabama Inactive
Alpha Zeta May 14, 1965 Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania Shippensburg, Pennsylvania Inactive
Alpha Eta April 29, 1967 East Carolina University Greenville, North Carolina Inactive
Alpha Theta 1966 Louisiana Tech University Ruston, Louisiana Inactive
Alpha Iota 1968 Rowan University Glassboro, New Jersey Inactive
Alpha Kappa 1968 University of Central Oklahoma Edmond, Oklahoma Inactive
Alpha Lambda 1969 Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Edinboro, Pennsylvania Inactive
Alpha Mu 1969 Northwest Missouri State University Maryville, Missouri Inactive
Alpha Nu 1969 Radford University Radford, Virginia Inactive
Alpha Xi 1969 Eastern Illinois University Charleston, Illinois Inactive
Alpha Omicron 1969 West Virginia Wesleyan College Buckhannon, West Virginia Inactive
Alpha Pi 1970 Mansfield University of Pennsylvania Mansfield, Pennsylvania Inactive
Alpha Rho 1970 Austin Peay State University Clarksville, Tennessee Inactive
Alpha Sigma 1970 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, Texas Inactive
Alpha Tau 1970 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania Inactive
Alpha Upsilon 1970 University of Central Arkansas Conway, Arkansas Inactive
Alpha Phi 1970 Jackson State University Jackson, Mississippi Inactive
Alpha Chi 1972 University of Wisconsin–Whitewater Whitewater, Wisconsin Inactive
Alpha Psi 1972 Western Illinois University Macomb, Illinois Inactive
Alpha Omega October 28, 1973 South Carolina State University Orangeburg, South Carolina Inactive [6]

Conventions and host chapters[edit]

Conventions through 1965 include:[2]

  • 1952 – March 15–16; Alpha Chapter
  • 1954 – March 19–20; Epsilon Chapter
  • 1957 – April 26–27; Gamma Chapter
  • 1959 – April 24–25; Mu Chapter
  • 1961 – April 28–29; Kappa Chapter
  • 1963 – April 26–27; Xi Chapter
  • 1965 – May 7–8; Eta Chapter

Current organization[edit]

On November 20, 1957, the Executive Committee of Alpha Beta Alpha established a new chapter at State Teachers College in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. The Rho chapter is one of two active chapters of Alpha Beta Alpha and is located at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. The group holds bi-weekly meetings where they plan and organize various service events on and off campus, discuss current events in the library science field, bring in library and academic professionals to talk about library related topics, and job opportunities around the United States. Recently, the organization has offered more social activities and events than just purely academic pursuits. Alpha Beta Alpha on the campus holds an annual banquet where they discuss the year's events as well as honoring special guests and graduating seniors.

In the spring of 2018, the Alpha chapter at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana was restored as an active chapter.[7]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Alpha Beta Alpha RHO Chapter Constitution" (PDF). Alpha Beta Alpha. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 28, 2010. Retrieved April 20, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e Nasri, William Z. (1968). "Alpha Beta Alpha". In Allen Kent & Harold Lancour (ed.). Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science. Vol. 1. New York: Marcel Dekker. pp. 166–169. ISBN 0-8247-2001-6. Retrieved 2017-06-08.
  3. ^ Baird, William R. (1991). "Alpha Beta Alpha". In Jack L. Anson & Robert F. Marchesani Jr. (ed.). Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities. Vol. 1. Indianapolis: Baird's Manual Foundation Inc. pp. V-66–67. ISBN 0-9637159-0-9.
  4. ^ William Raimond Baird (1977). Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities. G. Banta Company. pp. 737–.
  5. ^ Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities. Baird's Manual Foundation, Incorporated. 1991. pp. V-66–67.
  6. ^ "New Frontiers". South Carolina Librarian. Spring 1974. pp. 33–34.
  7. ^ Jackson, Leah (15 February 2018). "NSU students revive Alpha Beta Alpha library society". Retrieved 7 February 2021.