Otis College of Art and Design

As previously posted, I paid a visit to Sue Maberry at the Otis College of Art and Design at the end of last month. She was generous with her time and filled me in on some of the interesting projects and unique collections of the Millard Sheets Library.

The Millard Sheets collection is primarily arts- there are bits of other disciplines, but they are currently/eternally weeding to get rid of the multidisciplinary general-ed kind of stuff, which is available on their many electronic resources.

The library still actively collects catalogues and art texts from the smaller publishing houses- you simply can't get unique things like that online so much. Sue doesn't see that they are necessarily going to grow the collection (not really on the cards for most libraries), but posits it will largely shift format as time goes on. Currently the breakdown sees monographs still taking a slightly larger slice of the budgetary pie.
The relatively small size of the college (approximately 1200 students) makes for a smaller bureaucracy and more room for the library staff to experiment with new approaches to old problems.
Sue has taken over responsibility for instructional technology, and works with faculty to incorporate new technologies and practices into classes. It started out with info literacy but it has moved into other educational space as well.

Unsurprisingly, Sue’s role has changed dramatically in the 17 years she has been at Otis. She is heavily involved in pedagogy related to technology- her role title is in fact Director of Library and Instructional Technology, and she oversees not just the traditional Library but the Teaching Learning Centre (TLC) as well.

Here is Sue introducing the many awesome ways of the TLC.

She finds this extra dimension more fun than just worrying about the collection, and has delegated much of the collection management and acquisitions to other members of the team.

A physical collection the library will be actively building and shaping in the future is a materials collection, and start-up money for that venture is currently being sought.

The digital repository for the Otis Archive is the Otis Collections Online , which uses Contentdm software.
Contained within are some fantastic digital resources collected and maintained by the Library:
Art in book form has been collected by the Otis library for decades, with a strong collection grown significantly in the 60’s and 70’s. The collection is 2000 items strong and hold works by Ed Ruscha, Joseph Beuys ,Vito Acconci, the Guerilla Girls, and Laurie Anderson.
Otis also have a letterpress printing facility - the Otis Laboratory Press whose production also contributes to the Artist Book Collection.
The collection is maintained by the Millard Sheets catalogue librarian Cathy Chambers, who manages their ongoing digitisation, runs workshops, demonstrations and curates their exhibition. Exhibition cases are located onsite in Millard Sheets library-

  • Otis History is a selection of historical documents dating back to the schools inception in 1918. The physical Otis archive, on-site in the library, is the primary source for this ongoing project.
  • Otis Digital Image Database/ OtisDID, for teaching art history and other courses. This has been built by the library for the faculty using the open-source MDID . This project was already substantial when Jstor became widely used, and is similar in many ways to that commercial product.
Otis have a strong online presence. When initially poking around the web looking for schools to pester with my project they were head and shoulders above the rest for visibility.
has a YouTube channel and is out there on iTunesU.
Info lit sessions online make perfect sense as support for library staff who may only get one shot at the beginning of the year to convince art students that there are actually tools more useful to them than Google (ironic that one does that on YouTube...)
Library tours that don't require leading a gaggle of first years through cramped reference areas- tick.
And video gags that made me realise questions that had me agog (for the wrong reasons) at the front desk at the National Art School in Sydney are making librarians shake their heads all over the world...

Turns out they got a grant a few years ago from the Fletcher Jones Foundation to produce these filmic resources. This allowed them to hire some part time videographers through the TLC. Otis College was also able to commit to keeping the necessary staff on after the grant finished which meant the project could continue without draining library budget/ abruptly ending.

Sue and her team at the TLC have received a New Media Consortium Center of Excellence award for "their creative, technical, and artistic support of the campus community".
I think they deserved it, richly.

Yes, other libraries also have trolleys heavily laden with to-do piles...

Journals A-Z by title, not subject
(for you, Elizabeth L)