Alpha Beta Alpha

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Alpha Beta Alpha
Founded May 3, 1950
Northwestern State College of Louisiana
Type Professional[1]
Scope National
Motto Books, People, Service, Life
Colors Royal Purple and White
Flower White Rose
Chapters 1 active
Headquarters Kutztown, Pennsylvania

Alpha Beta Alpha is a national honorary library fraternity that is dedicated to serving college and university library science majors at the undergraduate level. The fraternity numbers 13 active members in one active chapter.


Alpha Beta Alpha was founded at Northwestern State College of Louisiana on May 3, 1950. It is 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 librarian and 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 was held on October 30, 1945 which was hosted by Eugene P. Watson on the campus of Northwestern State College of Louisiana, since 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.[3]

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 ABA. The pedge 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, on a bend argent, three Greek letters ABA, of the first between; in chief, a white rose-leaved vert; and in base, the reproduction of the ABA key. Crest-on a wreath of the colors, a candle holder argent holding a candle purpure, flamed and resplendent or. The motto is Books, People, Service, Life. The fraternity colors are purple and white; and 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.[4]

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 the last active chapter 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 academia. Alpha Beta Alpha holds an annual banquet where they discuss the year's events as well as honoring special guests and graduating seniors.



  1. ^ "Alpha Beta Alpha Constitution" (PDF). Alpha Beta Alpha: 1. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  2. ^ Nasri, William Z. (1968). "Alpha Beta Alpha". In Allen Kent & Harold Lancour. Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science. 1. New York: Marcel Dekker. pp. 166–67. ISBN 0-8247-2001-6. 
  3. ^ Nasri, William Z. (1968). "Alpha Beta Alpha". In Allen Kent & Harold Lancour. Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science. 1. New York: Marcel Dekker. p. 167. ISBN 0-8247-2001-6. 
  4. ^ Baird, William R. (1991). Jack L. Anson & Robert F. Marchesani Jr., ed. Alpha Beta Alpha. Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities. 1. Indianapolis: Baird's Manual Foundation Inc. pp. V–66–67. ISBN 0-9637159-0-9. 

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