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
  • Jesse Benson (b. 1978) is an artist based in Los Angeles. Benson's complex practice is driven by the perversion of roles and representation that characterize his generational moment. In obsessively "skillful" objects like the Bureau Paintings, Catalog Page Paintings, Future Sculptures, and Repaintings, Benson constantly questions the authenticity of the document, the function of style, and the value of both art and artist. Benson is equally committed to a curatorial/organizational practice that openly overlaps and inspires his object production.

  • The Architecture/Landscape/Interiors Department at OTIS College of Art and Design is pleased to announce a lecture by Nick SeierupPrincipal | Design Director of Perkins+Will, Los Angeles, on Thursday, December 3, 2015.


  • Marisa Silver is the author most recently of the New York Times bestselling novel Mary Coin. Her other books include the novels No Direction Home and The God of War (a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize), as well as two story collections, Babe in Paradise and Alone with You. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker and been included in many anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. Silver lives in Los Angeles.

  • Jesse Lerner is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles.  His short films Natives (1991, with Scott Sterling), T.S.H. (2004) and Magnavoz (2006) and the feature-length experimental documentaries Frontierland/Fronterilandia (1995, with Rubén Ortiz-Torres), Ruins (1999) The American Egypt (2001), Atomic Sublime (2010) and The Absent Stone (2013, with Sandra Rozental) have won numerous prizes at film festivals in the United States, Latin America and Japan.

  • Otis faculty member Dana Berman Duff will present a program of short 16mm and digital films in her "Catalogue" series.

  • Performing the Grid is an exhibition that brings together an intergenerational group of artists and cultural producers that utilize the grid as a performative strategy to examine, challenge and position philosophical, political, social, domestic, corporeal, and mythical perspectives. Rosalind Kraus famously wrote that the grid “functions to declare the modernity of modern art” in her 1979 essay, Grids.


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.