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Millard Sheets Library

Library Mission & Goals


Goals of the Otis Library

  • To provide a learning environment designed to inspire creative students and faculty at Otis College of Art and Design.
  • To provide collections of traditional library materials as well as emerging digital resources which foster creativity, critical thinking, and diversity of thought, with an emphasis on supporting the Otis curriculum
  • To provide anytime/anywhere access to library databases and information resources
  • To empower students and faculty in their ability to locate, evaluate, and ethically use print and electronic resources
  • To collaborate with the faculty to design information literacy instruction that supports critical thinking
  • To support the faculty in learning and using appropriate instructional technologies
  • To promote this library and other libraries as a source of inspiration for creative work, intellectual pursuits, recreation, and independent lifelong learning
  • To play an active role in supporting more effective organization and presentation of information for the diverse audiences of the College
  • To actively contribute to the intellectual life of the College

Information Literacy ILO

Otis College graduates will be able to assemble, evaluate, and ethically use information from diverse sources to accomplish a specific purpose.

What's Here

Main Stacks - circulating collection of 40,000 books shelved by call number. There are also 130,000 e-books available through the Catalog.

Databases - The Library subscribes to many and they include millions of articles.

Special Collections - housed in a closed space and materials must be paged. Includes 3,000 artists' books, rare books, and institutional archives.

Media Collection - circulating DVDs housed on the north wall.

Materials Collection - circulating materials located near the Circulation Desk.

Journals and Magazines - Currently the library subscribes to 150 and maintains bound issues of scores of titles going back to the 1940s.Located in the center of the library space. Magazine Holding List.

Image collections - These include the OtisDID (Digital Image Database), an art history image bank to support teaching now numbers 46,000 images. The Library also maintains the Otis Collections Online, a web database of digital images by, for and about the Otis Community, which includes the Otis Archives and images of the Artists' Books Collections.

Special Collections

Special Collections

Otis College Special Collections include

Material from these collections are housed at the back of the library in room 100 D and are available by request between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Most items may only be viewed within the library under supervision. (Note: Some items are too fragile to be scanned or xeroxed.) Please contact Catalog and Special Collections Librarian Cathy Chambers for an appointment.

Library Reserves

Otis Faculty place materials on Reserve in the Library for their students. Reserves are really an extension of the classroom. They include books, copies of chapters from books, and articles from journals and newspapers.

Individual faculty members initiate the process of placing non-video (for video reserves see below) items on Reserve by bringing materials to the Circulation Desk and filling out a Reserve Form, available online or from the Circulation Desk in the Library. The Reserve item is then prepared for circulation and a record for it is created in the Library's catalog. Finally, the item is placed behind the Circulation Desk, where students can check it out for a period of time stipulated by the professor, ranging from Library Use Only (recommended) to overnight. For questions regarding reserves, please contact Vickie Thomas or Shelley Forbes.

Electronic Reserves: In addition to Traditional Library Reserves, some materials may be available through the The Nest on a 24/7 basis.

Video Reserves: Upon request, videos may be put on reserve for Library Use Only for a limited amount of time. To place videos on hold or reserves, or for questions regarding videos, please contact Heather Cleary. More information about our video collection.

Visual Resources

Library Support Services (formerly the Visual Resources Center, or VRC) is the place for you to find still and moving images to support the curriculum at Otis College of Art and Design. We manage the OtisDID (the digital image database), Otis Collections Online, iPads, and the Video section. We are located in the Millard Sheets Library on the first floor of the Residence Hall.


Mondays - Fridays 9am - 5pm


Heather Cleary, Digital Projects and Metadata Librarian
Derek McMullen, Photographic Imaging Technician


Finding Images and Videos

Imaging Projects

Artists' Books Image Database
In June 2003, the Getty Grant Program provided funds to the Millard Sheets Library to catalog and digitize our entire collection of 2,500 artists' books. As of January 2006, most of the project has been completed and the collection is available thorough to the public through a new digital asset management system and Collections Online website. (The original homegrown experimental database is no longer available.)

Otis Digital Image Database (OtisDID)
Since 2002, the Library's major project was to assist the art historians to move from slides to the use of digital images in the classroom. We adopted the James Madison Digital Image Database software. The OtisDID allows professors to create lectures, digitally project images in the classroom, and then easily make them availableto students as web study guides.

Currently, there are over 29,000 images available, with more added every week. Although the collection focuses on Modernism, images of art, architecture, and design from many cultures and time periods are included. In accordance with fair use guidelines, the images are purchased from vendors, harvested from subscription databases, web databases, CD-ROMS, scanned from slides, and occasionally scanned from books and magazines. This database is only available to current students, faculty, and staff.

Faculty Art Database: This project began in summer 2002. It provides information and access to select images of artwork produced by Otis faculty. Currently, 33 faculty are participating with 451 images available. Faculty are encouraged to contact the VRC if they wish their images added.

Otis History: Past and Present: The Otis Archives are now online with over 1,000 images, including the entire 80 pages of the 1975 historical document, The Otis Story.

Woman's Building Image Archive: In 1997, as part of the Getty Information Institute's "Faces of L.A." Project, more than 1500 images documenting the history of this unique L.A. Arts institution were selected and digitized. They are now available through the Woman's Building site.

Digital imaging projects are primarily under the direction of the Digital Projects and Metadata Librarian, Heather Cleary.

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