Otis College of Art and Design logo
  • Otis Fine Arts hosts a Visiting Artist lecture series featuring John Houck, a Los Angeles-based artist. Read more about him here.
    Contact: Soo Kim, skim@otis.edu
  • Join Otis’ new President Bruce W. Ferguson and new Director of Galleries and Exhibitions Kate McNamara at a special reception for alumni and friends at the historic National Arts Club.

    Tuesday, October 6, 2015
    7:00 – 9:00 pm

    National Arts Club
    15 Gramercy Park South
    New York, NY 10003
    Business Casual attire is required by the National Arts Club
    For dress code information, visit: www.nationalartsclub.org (under About Us/FAQs)

  • Angela Flournoy’s first novel The Turner House was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, and she has written for The New Republic, The Los Angeles Review of Books and elsewhere. Flournoy has taught at the University of Iowa and Trinity Washington University. She lives in Los Angeles.

  • Adam Linder is a choreographer based between Berlin and Los Angeles, working both in theatre and visual art contexts. He has been developing a dance based  format he calls Choreographic Services since 2013. This aspect of his work is focused on underscoring real time and economic conditions that are integral to the discipline of  choreography. At Otis Linder will introduce this format both conceptually and practically, discussing why 'servicing' is the relevant way for his work to publicly engage.  

  • Otis Fine Arts hosts a Visiting Artist lecture series featuring Oliver Payne, a Los Angeles-based artist. Read more about him here.
    Contact: Soo Kim, skim@otis.edu
  • Kimberli Meyer trained as an architect and an artist, and has been the director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House in West Hollywood since 2002. She has initiated and curated many programs there, including the exhibitions How Many Billboards?

  • Industry Spotlight

    Oct 15| Special Event
    An advertising creative director for more than 25 years, Otis alumnus Josh Weltman was the Mad Men co-producer responsible for Don Draper's credibility as an advertising genius.
    Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at the hit series, plus hear key insights from Weltman's new book Seducing Strangers: How to Get People to Buy What You're Selling.
    October 15, 6:30 - 9:30 pm


Collection Development Policies

Kerri Steinberg

As a full partner in the educational enterprise, the role of the Library is to support and enhance the learning experience of students. The main goals of the Library are to:

  1. Maintain collections of books, DVDs, databases, digital images, materials and other media that support the curriculum and goals of the college
  2. Create and implement an information literacy program to support the InfoLit Institutional Learning Outcome and embed it within the curriculum to the extent possible
  3. Teach students and faculty individually how to find and evaluate information-- visual, printed, and electronic
  4. Provide reference services for the college in general
  5. Maintain archives and digital repositories for Otis historical and assessment assets

Purpose of Library Collections

It is the role of the Director of the Library to select and manage the collections of the Library with the assistance of other librarians. The Academic Assembly and Chairs Council advise the Director on matters of policy relating to the collection.
Faculty and Chairs establish curriculum, advise students, and, in effect drive the collection needs of the Library. Whenever possible faculty bibliographies, course outlines, and specific recommendations are solicited and used to assist in collection development.                 
For the past several years, the Otis Library has been moving from book-centered to learning-centered, especially with the adoption of the InfoLit ILO and new LAS curricular changes.

Subject Areas

The collections support the mission of the college and are driven by the curriculum. The major focus is on visual art, design, and fashion with an emphasis on collecting specifically to support each major or concentration at Otis. The collection also supports curricula in art history, visual culture, critical studies, media studies, cultural studies, and, to varying levels, other subjects taught by the Liberal Studies department. The exception is Creative Writing Program. An excellent literature collection would be impossible to maintain for a library and budget of our size. Instead, we arrange for borrowing privileges for writing students to the Loyola Marymount Library.


It is not the goal of this library to keep growing indefinitely in total number of volumes. The goal is to maintain a book collection of 45-50,000 volumes.
Specific requests by faculty are a high priority for acquisition. We also collect some material to support the extracurricular needs of the faculty and students. Student requests are also usually honored.
We will continually weed and replace outdated and little used material. Policies related to accession of donations are the same as those related to purchases. We are, however, very liberal in accepting donations as long as it is understood that we may sell or give away what we do not need. The library is thereby able to provide free or inexpensive resources to students through book sales and giveaways.
We do not provide Inter-Library Loan services. The cost of this service averages about $40-50 per item in addition to staff time for management and set up. It is usually more cost effective to purchase the item rather than borrow it.
Most material that support the art and design curriculum falls within the "initial study level" and the "advanced study level." Collecting to support liberal studies is primarily at the "basic level" with the exception of Art History, which is primarily at the "initial to advanced study level." Collecting outside the areas taught is done at the "minimal level" or not at all. (*See below for a definition of levels.)

Formats Collected:

books and monographs
e-books (via subscription, especially to supplement non-art holdings)
exhibition catalogs, museum and gallery publications
quick reference materials such as surveys & histories
catalog raisonné (some--when well-illustrated and affordable)
visual references (book format rather than picture files)
textbooks (only if donated by departments)
periodicals and serials
DVDs (art and artists, documentaries, animation, + some TV and features)
digital images
artists' books and book art
Web-based databases (via subscriptions)
Otis theses (when available)
Otis archival materials
Materials (new collection. Minimal level)

Formats Generally NOT Collected:

sales catalogues and auction catalogs (except those about particular subjects)
primary sources
photographs and reproductions of works of art
sound recordings, films
works of art in editions (except when they could be defined as artists book)

Criteria for Selection:

faculty or student requests or on a course bibliography
reviews in tools such as Library Journal, Choice, and art journals
reputation of authors/artists
cost (rarely books over $125)
usability and readership level
quality of construction
historical importance
number and quality of reproductions
in English
overall balance of the collection
circulation statistics for similar materials

Weeding Criteria:

All of the above + the following:
total usage combined with last date circulated
deaccessioning of out-of-print materials is carefully considered
easy availability elsewhere, except art and design books
number of duplicate copies
age and/or condition
currency, timeliness
newer edition or better title available
if outside scope, suitability or appropriateness
unsolicited and unwanted gifts
fragility or need for special preservation attention
perception of possible future demand

Reviewed and approve by Academic Assembly, April 2015.

* Levels of Collecting Defined (Adapted from ARLIS Standards for Art Libraries)

A. Comprehensive Level. Everything by everyone in every language on a particular subject.

B. Research Level. Like UCLA, all major books, reference works, indexing services. Aimed at researchers, i.e. Ph.D.s.

C1. Advanced Study Level. Aimed at supporting advanced undergraduates or graduates. Wide range of current and retrospective materials. Complete collection of major writers, some selections of secondary writers, selections of journals, etc.

C2. Initial Study Level. Adequate to support undergraduate courses. Judicious selection from current monographs such as those reviewed in Choice, seminal retrospective monographs, such as titles from Books for College Libraries. Selections of important works in area, the most significant works of secondary writers; current editions of the most significant reference tools and bibliographies.

D. Basic Level. Highly selective collection which serves to introduce and define the subject and to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere. Major dictionaries and encyclopedias, selected important works, historical surveys, important bibliographies, a few major periodicals in the field.

E. Minimal Level. Only a few very basic works.