The American Optometric Association Collection was retained by The Archives & Museum of Optometry (AMO), a program under Optometry Cares-The AOA Foundation, after the close of the International Library, Archives & Museum of Optometry (ILAMO) in 2009. The AMO is charged with organizing, preserving and providing access to these materials and collecting materials created by the AOA that are of permanent administrative, legal or historical significance.
The American Optometric Association collection comprises materials accessioned from several sources. In 1902, the AOA's Physiological Section was established to present and disseminate research through the presentation of papers at the annual convention and publication in the proceedings. In 1908, the Physiological Section became the Scientific Section, expanding its role to providing continuing education, assisting in the establishment of educational standards, and creating a circulating library. In 1919, the Section became the Department of Education and the library was held at the Director's office. In 1923, the library was transferred to the custody of Dr. Ernest H. Kiekenapp who also began collecting administrative and governance materials in his Faribault, MN office as part of his official duties as AOA Secretary (1923-1952).
In 1954, when the AOA opened its first headquarters in St. Louis, MO, the Kiekenapp Library was merged with other materials collected by Walter Kimball, Director of the Department of Public Information, and Elmer Soles, Director of the Public Health Bureau and Department of Public Relations. In 1964, the AOA headquarters was moved to 7000 Chippewa Street in St. Louis, MO and the combined collections were placed under the management of the full-time, head librarian, Maria Dablemont. The collection grew to include a reference library, an archives and a museum collection. In 1973, the library was incorporated as the International Library, Archives & Museum of Optometry (ILAMO) and occupied its own facility at 7014 Chippewa.
In 1978, the ILAMO moved to the new AOA offices at 243 North Lindbergh in St. Louis, MO. In 2006, ILAMO became a program under the American Optometric Association - Foundation for Science, Education, and Charity, the predecessor of Optometry Cares - The AOA Foundation. In 2009, the reference library closed and deaccessioned a large body of material.
The International Library, Archives & Museum closed in 2009. The Archives & Museum of Optometry remained a program under Optometry Cares - The AOA Foundation and took custody of material retained after the de-accession of the reference library.
Processing of the collection is still in progress. Accruals to the collection are expected as dictated by the AOA Retention Schedule (under review) and through donation of historical materials. Disposal of material and active collection is expected as reappraisal is performed against revised collections policies.