Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a subject area below to see the list of frequently asked questions (FAQs).
The subject areas will expand - click on a question to see the answer.

If your question isn't answered here, please contact us via email, telephone or in person at a Library.


Each library location has a book drop - see the library's location page under "Services" to get the exact location of the drops.

Yes! As of March 2013, you may apply for a library card online by clicking the View My Library Account menu item (or the View My Account tab when in the catalog), then click on the New User button.

Once you've completed the online form, you will be given a temporary number. The temporary number can be used to request items from the catalog. Your next step will be to visit a library location and receive your permanent card. Full Library privileges will be extended upon completion of the registration process. 

You may apply for a library card at any Ventura County Library. The initial card is FREE. There is a $1.00 replacement fee for a lost card. Your card gives you borrowing privileges at all Ventura County Library locations.

NEW! as of March 2013: Apply for a library card online by clicking the View My Library Account menu item (or the View My Account tab when in the catalog), then click on the New User button.

Once you've completed the online form, you will be given a temporary number. The temporary number can be used to request items from the catalog. Your next step will be to visit a library location and receive your permanent card. Full Library privileges will be extended upon completion of the registration process. 
Please note: you must visit a library location one time to show identification and receive your card!

When you request an item and it is ready to be picked up at the Ventura County Library location you chose, a notice will be mailed to you at the address you have provided. An email notice will be sent to you if you have provided your email address on your library card application.

A parent or guardian's signature is required for applicants under the age of 18.

  • Library card application forms are available in both English and Spanish at any branch library. Complete the application form and present it with picture identification showing your current street address. (Driver's license is preferred. If you have just moved, a letter or bill with your current address in addition to your picture I.D. is acceptable.) A card will be prepared and given to you, and you may borrow items on the day you receive your new card.
  • Bring your library card whenever you visit the library. You will be able to use your card as identification if you borrow desk research material or for use within the library for wi-fi or Internet computers. Your card also grants you access to the content of our online databases found on our eLibrary page.
  • You may be asked to update your address and contact information.
  • If your card is lost or stolen, please report it to a library staff member immediately. A block will be placed against your file so that no one else can use your lost card.

The PIN number is *usually* the last 4 digits of the phone number used when you originally got your library card, unless you chose another 4 digit combination at that time.

To reset or change your PIN when you don't know your current PIN, bring your library card and I.D., along with verification of address (if it has changed) to one of our library locations (see: http://www.vencolibrary.org/locations), where you can change your PIN number to one you remember.

Once you have your PIN - you can change it within our catalog without our assistance.  

Your library card is your key to borrowing books, cassettes, compact disks, etc., at any Ventura County Library. Just present your card and library materials to the staff at the customer service desk. (You may only check out books and materials on your own library card.)

  • Circulating books, cassettes, compact discs, pamphlets, and magazines are checked out to you from any Ventura County Library branch for three (3) weeks.
  • Videocassettes can be checked out for three (3) weeks.
  • Research materials as well as some magazines, newspapers, and government documents, are generally not available to be checked out but can be viewed at the branch.
  • Parents or guardians are financially responsible for items checked out on cards of their children 17 years of age or younger.

  • Books may be renewed online through the Ventura County Library online catalog. You will need your library card and your library PIN. When your library account was originally set up, the last 4 digits of your phone number at that time were used unless you specified another set of numbers. If you do not know your PIN, call or visit your local library. 
    • Books renew three times (for three weeks each checkout/renewal period) unless another customer has placed a hold on the book.
    • Books requested by someone else may not be renewed and must be returned.
  • Books may be renewed at the branch or by phone. You must have your library card with you to renew by phone. 
    • Books renew three times (for three weeks each checkout/renewal period) unless another customer has placed a hold on the book.
    • Books that have been requested by someone else may not be renewed and must be returned.
  • Most library materials do not have to be returned to the library from which they were borrowed. They may be returned to any Ventura County Library.
    •  [Ventura County Library books may be returned to any public library in Ventura County, Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County. However, you are responsible for the book (and it will continue to accrue fines if overdue) until it reaches a Ventura County Library.]
  • After hours, books may be returned in the branch library's bookdrop.
  • Because audiovisual materials can be damaged when heavy books fall on top of them in the bookdrop, we prefer cassettes, compact discs, and videocassettes be returned to the customer service desk during the branch library's open hours.

General

  • Overdue fine: $.25 per item per day on most items
  • Maximum fine per item returned: $6.00
  • Charge for item lost or damaged beyond use: replacement cost

Short loan and research books

  • Short loan and research books per item per day: $.50
  • Maximum fine short loan and research per item: $16.00

Items from other library systems

  • Items borrowed from other library systems per item per day: $.50
  • Maximum fine per item borrowed from other systems: $40.00

Payment of fines

  • We recommend you pay your fines by cash or personal check in person at the customer service desk
  • If you would rather mail your check:
    • Please call your library location to get information regarding sending the correct amount to the correct location.
    • If you have verified your amount, you may send a check payable to "Ventura County Library"
      to P.O. Box 771 Ventura, CA 93002.
      Important! Please remember to enter your library card number in the memo line.
  • Ventura County Library is working with the County of Ventura to provide a future, online pay option.
    Thank you for your patience!

Please note:

  • You will not be able to check out items if you have fines or charges of $40.00 or more
  • Delinquent accounts may be referred to a collection agency
  • Collection Agency referral fee: $10.00 per referral

Borrowers are legally responsible to pay for items lost or damaged beyond normal wear and tear. These charges cover the cost to the library for replacing the item, plus processing.

A printed schedule of these charges is available at each library.

The Ventura County Library asks you for your email address for the following reasons:

  • The primary reason is: having your email address allows the Library to send notices by email, thereby enabling the Library to more efficiently serve you. In most cases, your Library Notice is delivered to your email address within minutes of its being produced.
  • It's over four times as expensive to send a printed notice than to send a notice by email. The Library regularly sends several hundred notices each day.
  • If you are having trouble receiving your email notices - please see our FAQ under "Catalog".

  • To ensure that your library card is secure and in your possession.
  • To make sure no one but you can access your library account.
  • To ensure you are safe from any identity theft issues that may occur if someone else has access to your card and personal information.
  • The information on your library record is personal and by law we are required to protect your privacy.
  • We need to always be sure who checked out library materials in order to recover those materials if they are not returned to the library.   The books, CDs, DVDs and other materials in this library have been purchased with your tax dollars and we want to have them available for everyone.
  • We want everyone to have equitable opportunity to use the library’s computers.  In order to provide that opportunity, we ask you to bring your card to the library.

Notify us as soon as possible. We can set that lost card to "Lost" status and issue you a replacement card for just $1.00. That way, no one else can use the lost card. You will need to simply show identification and fill out a new application form.

It depends.  Unused cards are purged from our system periodically, but yours *may* still be active. You can try bringing it in to any of our libraries, along with your identification, to see if you are still in our system.

Enterprise Catalog's performance speed may vary depending on the browser and browser settings you use.

As of July 2014, the following chart shows recommended browsers and versions for best performance:

Browser   Supported Versions for Searching   Platforms
Internet Explorer   10 and 11   Windows
Google Chrome   Latest version   Windows/MacIntosh
Mozilla Firefox   Latest version   Windows/MacIntosh
Safari   6 and 7   MacIntosh

The best practice when searching in Enterprise is to enter your search term and leave the first drop down on "Everything" and either let the default "All Fields" stand on the second drop down or choose one (Author, Title, Subject, etc.) - then, click SEARCH.

Once you have a results set, see the detailed "Limit Search Results" in the left column. These can be used to include or exclude many different factors to help you pinpoint what you are looking for.

For further search assistance, please see the Enterprise Help page (found at the top right of the catalog, linked to the question mark icon).

There are several ways to search for audiobooks, both downloadable and on CD or tape.

  • If you want more than one kind of format - for example, downloadable eaudiobooks as well as books on CD - start your search using EVERYTHING (in the first drop down next to the home icon) and enter your search term.
    • Click on SEARCH. When viewing the results, notice the formats available under FORMAT in the left sidebar. You may need to click on "More" to expand the list. Choose all the formats you want and then click INCLUDE.
    • You can further refine using the filters in the left sidebar. If you select an eaudiobook from OverDrive or OneClickdigital, you may be asked to sign in to that collection to view or request the title.

  • If you want only physical items such as books on CD or tape, use the AUDIOBOOKS choice -- in the same drop down menu as EVERYTHING 
  • If you want to see only downloadable audiobooks in OverDrive or OneClickdigital, you can use the DIGITAL CATALOG search -- in the same drop down menu as EVERYTHING
    • The DIGITAL CATALOG search is a feature of Enterprise that directly links specific vendors pages within the catalog. As of 2014, there are only 5 vendors in the Digital Catalog:  
      • OverDrive
      • OneClickdigital
      • Axis 360/Blio
      • Project Gutenberg
      • Open Library
    • Not all e-content is in the Digital Library!  If you want to see all downloadable or streaming content, stick with the EVERYTHING menu item for your initial search and filter by format

To request an item from the Ventura County Library Online Enterprise Catalog, follow these instructions:

  • After finding the item you want in the online catalog, click on the Request Item button. There is also a "Request Item" selection under the "Select An Action" drop down menu.
  • In the first box, type in your complete barcode number from your library card.
  • In the second box, type in the last four digits of your telephone number or your PIN number (if you have changed it from your phone number.)
  • Click on the Login box.
  • Select the pickup location.
  • Click on the Request button to complete the request.

That's all there is to it!

When the item becomes available for you to pick up at the requested location, you will be notified by mail or email (as long as your email address has been added to your account.) Be sure the library always has your current address, phone number and email.

If the item is not available from any Ventura County Library, you may be able to find it from another library system in California. You can learn how to do that here in the FAQ, or ask our research desk for help.

Enterprise catalog's HELP page for this question

First, check for the item in our Ventura County Library Online Enterprise Catalog. For help with your search, use our Enterprise Catalog FAQ. Remember, you can request items from other branches and have them delivered for pick-up at your local branch.

If none of the Ventura County Library branches own the item you seek, you can search for it in WorldShare and request it through our interlibrary loan (ILL) system. Here's how:

  • Start at our eLibrary page
  • Click on the "WorldShare" button. You will need to enter your 14-digit VCL library card number and then will be directed into the WorldShare catalog.
  • Go to "My Account" and select "New User Registration" and register to use the service (optional)
  • Conduct a search for your item(s) - when you find the item held by another library, in the "Detailed Record" click on the link "Borrow this item from another library (Interlibrary Loan)"
  • Fill in all the fields required - please pay special attention to enter your phone number correctly.
  • Regarding the "Date Needed" field: give us a generous amount of time. We need to find a library 1) that owns the item, 2) is willing to loan it, and 3) where it is not checked out to another customer. Then, it comes through the U.S. mail. If you have a firm deadline, enter it. Please be aware we will discontinue our search when the date arrives.
  • Under "Pickup Library" please enter the Ventura County Library location where you would like to pick up your items.
  • Click SUBMIT - You should receive a green check mark indicating your request has been placed.  You can click on the green check to send yourself an email confirmation of the successful request.
  • Library staff will process your request from this point.
  • If you have registered an account, you can monitor your requests through My Account => Resource Sharing in the WorldShare catalog.
  • Please keep in mind: we do not own these items and typically they cannot be renewed.

If you are unable to find the item, staff at your local Ventura County Library can provide further assistance by locating the item or you may elect to send us a Tell us what to buy form.

My Account lets you view your checkouts, holds, and any fines you may have. You can also view your personal information, change your PIN, and set up your preferences.

See the Enterprise Help page (found at the top right of the catalog, linked to the question mark icon), for more details regarding "My Account".

When you got your library card, there was a field in the application for an email address. 

  • You can check your Library Account by signing in at: 
                 --catalog link here--
    • Click on My Account and login with your library card number and PIN
    • Check under "Personal Information" for your email address
    • If the library does not have your email, or if it is entered incorrectly,you may speak to a staff member when you visit or you may do this over the phone during the library's open hours.
      If you phone, please have your library card number available. 

See also (below):

There are two separate notification processes:

  1. For hold requests
  2. For pre-overdues

1. The hold requests notification sends out alerts only Monday through Friday (as they go through a County organization that works only on weekdays.) 

** Additionally, alerts are NOT sent out until the morning AFTER the book is received.
For example, if a book is delivered to your pick up branch on a Tuesday, your email notice will be sent first thing Wednesday morning.  Likewise, if the book arrives Friday, you won't see the email notification until Monday morning.

You can also watch your Library Catalog Account to monitor your holds.  Account information is real time.

2. Pre-overdue notices are courtesy notices alerting you of items checked out which are due back to the Library in three days. These are sent out daily. Pre-overdue notices are sent by email only.

See also:

Be sure the address: library.postmaster@ventura.org is in your address book or contact list so Library emails don't get sent to your spam or bulk mail folder.  Your Internet Service Provider upgrades their security regularly, and these upgrades can affect the emails sent to those folders.

Be sure of the timing. See the above explanation of the Hold notices being sent out Monday through Friday and not until the morning after the book was received.

Check your account to be sure the email address has been entered correctly (see details under "Personal Information.")

  • Keep your email address up to date in your account.

If you are sure that you meet the above criteria and are still not receiving your emailed Library notices, email library.postmaster@ventura.org the following information:

  • Your name and library card number
  • Which type of notice you are looking for, i.e., Holds notice, Overdue notice, Lost notice, or Preoverdue notice
  • The title of the item for which you expected to receive a notice
  • When you expected to receive the notice

We will do our best to research the dates in question to verify if a notice was produced.

See also:

Please see the Enterprise Help page (found at the top right of the catalog, linked to the question mark icon).

From "My Account", you can:

 

  • See the status of items you have checked out
  • Renew those items
  • Check the status/change/cancel any requests you have made
  • View your account information
  • Change your PIN
  • Suspend your holds

 

The classic catalog is linked directly under the library card logo, on the upper left hand side of the Enterprise catalog. The link reads "Classic Catalog".

When you find items in Searching that you want to keep and organize, you can save them in your My Lists. You can create and customize your lists, and you can print or email your lists.

For more information regarding My Lists, please see the Enterprise Help page (found at the top right of the catalog, linked to the question mark icon).

Unfortunately, no.  You will need to sign in to the old, classic catalog and manually copy and recreate the "My List" in Enterprise.

No. There are no plans to retire the Classic Catalog.

To request an item from the Ventura County Library online catalog, follow these instructions:

  • After finding the item you want in the online catalog, click on the Request Item button.
  • In the first box, type in your complete barcode number from your library card.
  • In the second box, type in the last four digits of your telephone number or your PIN number (if you have changed it from your phone number.)
  • Click on the Login box.
  • Select the pickup location.
  • Click on the Request button to complete the request.

That's all there is to it!

When the item becomes available for you to pick up at the requested location, you will be notified by mail or email (as long as your email address has been added to your account.)

If the item is not available from any Ventura County Library, you may be able to find it from another library system in California. You can learn how to do that here in the FAQ, or ask our research desk for help.

First, check for the item in our Ventura County Library Catalog. For help with your search, use our Catalog FAQ. Remember, you can request items from other branches and have them delivered for pick-up at your local branch.

If none of the Ventura County Library branches own the item you seek, you can search for it in WorldShare and request it through our interlibrary loan (ILL) system. Here's how:

  • Start at our eLibrary page
  • Click on the "WorldShare" button. You will need to enter your 14-digit VCL library card number and then will be directed into the WorldShare catalog.
  • Go to "My Account" and select "New User Registration" and register to use the service (optional)
  • Conduct a search for your item(s) - when you find the item held by another library, in the "Detailed Record" click on the link "Borrow this item from another library (Interlibrary Loan)"
  • Fill in all the fields required - please pay special attention to enter your phone number correctly.
  • Regarding the "Date Needed" field: give us a generous amount of time. We need to find a library 1) that owns the item, 2) is willing to loan it, and 3) where it is not checked out to another customer. Then, it comes through the U.S. mail. If you have a firm deadline, enter it. Please be aware we will discontinue our search when the date arrives.
  • Under "Pickup Library" please enter the Ventura County Library location where you would like to pick up your items.
  • Click SUBMIT - You should receive a green check mark indicating your request has been placed.  You can click on the green check to send yourself an email confirmation of the successful request.
  • Library staff will process your request from this point.
  • If you have registered an account, you can monitor your requests through My Account => Resource Sharing in the WorldShare catalog.
  • Please keep in mind: we do not own these items and typically they cannot be renewed.

If you are unable to find the item, staff at your local Ventura County Library can provide further assistance by locating the item or you may elect to send us a Tell us what to buy form.

On the View My Account tab, you can:

  • See the status of items you have checked out
  • Renew those items
  • Check the status/change/cancel any requests you have made
  • View any blocks on your account
  • Add or change your email address
  • Change your PIN

Other tabs provide information outside of the Ventura County Library Online Catalog.

When you got your library card, there was a field in the application for an email address. 

See also (below):

There are two separate notification processes:

  1. For hold requests
  2. For pre-overdues

1. The hold requests notification sends out alerts only Monday through Friday (as they go through a County organization that works only on weekdays.)

** Additionally, alerts are NOT sent out until the morning AFTER the book is received.
For example, if a book is delivered to your pick up branch on a Tuesday, your email notice will be sent first thing Wednesday morning.  Likewise, if the book arrives Friday, you won't see the email notification until Monday morning.

You can also watch your Library Catalog Account to monitor your holds.  Account information is real time.

2. Pre-overdue notices are courtesy notices alerting you of items checked out which are due back to the Library in three days. These are sent out daily. Pre-overdue notices are sent by email only.

See also:

Be sure the address: library.postmaster@ventura.org is in your address book or contact list so Library emails don't get sent to your spam or bulk mail folder.  Your Internet Service Provider upgrades their security regularly, and these upgrades can affect the emails sent to those folders.

Be sure of the timing. See the above explanation of the Hold notices being sent out Monday through Friday and not until the morning after the book was received.

Check your account to be sure the email address has been entered correctly (see details under "Profile.")

  • Keep your email address up to date in your account.

If you are sure that you meet the above criteria and are still not receiving your emailed Library notices, email library.postmaster@ventura.org the following information:

  • Your name and library card number
  • Which type of notice you are looking for, i.e., Holds notice, Overdue notice, Lost notice, or Preoverdue notice
  • The title of the item for which you expected to receive a notice
  • When you expected to receive the notice

We will do our best to research the dates in question to verify if a notice was produced.

See also:

The “My List” is a courtesy feature provided by the manufacturer of our catalog software. You must be signed into your account to use it properly.

It can be used to store books you have read or intend to read. Unfortunately, we have very little influence on how the tool behaves and the lists have been known to disappear or become corrupted. For this reason, we recommend you periodically email your list to yourself (follow the prompts on your list.)

Click on the questions below to show answers

Simply select your search type and type in your search term(s).

  • If you don't know what type of search you want, use the default General Keyword search. This is a Google type search. If your search term is spelled correctly, General Keyword search will give you the most results. However, many of the results may seem unrelated.
  • If you do a General Keyword search, when you get your results, use the Limit boxes to narrow your choices. For example, if you do a General Keyword search for travel guides, there are more than 279 travel guides in the catalog. If you Limit by "All Nonfiction" and re-execute the search using the arrow next to the Limit by box, your results are narrowed to 217 titles.
  • If you Limit again by the Library, then your results will be narrowed to only nonfiction travel guides owned by that Library.

Each title in our catalog has a record containing all information such as title, author, publication date, subject, material format, call number and much additional data.

  • A keyword search seeks to match your search terms to more pieces of data in the title record than a browse search, therefore, more results are found for a keyword search than a browse search.

  • If you know the EXACT title of the item you are searching for, use Title Browse.
  • If you're not sure of the EXACT title, use Title Keyword.
  • Same with an author's name.
  • The catalog uses the Library of Congress approved subject list, not common subject words, so the best technique for subject searching is the Subject Keyword search.
  • Limits are filters that help you narrow your search results.
  • At this time, you can LIMIT your searches by choosing one item from All Items, OR one item from Kid's Items, OR one item from Teen Items, OR one Language.
  • Your search will fail if you apply more than one LIMIT per search from the above categories.
  • However, you may apply one LIMIT from any of the above categories along with one Library limit.
  • Limits are essentially groupings of items by Collection Codes.
  • When you look in the VCL Online Catalog and search for an item, you will see a record of the title, with publisher, description, edition and ISBN numbers at the top, along with cover art, when available.
  • On the bottom part of the screen, under the Copy/Holding Information bar, you will see:
    • The location of each copy of the title that VCL owns
    • Which collection it is in
    • Volume or copy information
    • The status of the item
    • The due date of any checked out items
  • Collection codes are locational within each library. They show where you can find items in the holding library.
  • Collection codes are grouped together as like items to create a limit.
    • If you search for SUBJECT * and LIMIT All Large Print, you will get all items that have collection codes of Adult Fiction Large Print, Adult Mystery Large Print, Adult Nonfiction Large Print, Adult Science Fiction large Print, Adult Western Large Print and Children's Large Print.

No. They are optional.

Type: king, stephen in the author field and: cars in the subject field.

Click on the title or on the link to the right of the title "Click here to see copies available."

Trying spelling the first few letters of the last name followed by an *, i.e., when you are looking for works by shakespeare, type shak* in the "Search for works by this AUTHOR" box.

Try entering a few words from the title using *, i.e., when you are looking for the title " A Tale of Two Cities", but are not sure of the exact title, type "*two cities*" in the "Search for works with this TITLE" box.

Type the illustrator/composer/additional author's name in "Do a GENERAL search of the catalog" box.

You can combine a wildcard search using an asterisk (*) along with a limit to return many combinations, i.e., to find all audiobooks for Stephen King titles, type Stephen King in the "Search for works by this AUTHOR" box and click on (select) the All audiobooks limit.

  • This will return all titles where Stephen King is the author and that are audiobooks of any format.
  • Once you are in the search results screen for Stephen King (showing the first 10 titles in the results), you can "Limit by"  Library location (among other things), just above the list on the right side of the page.

To find all audiobooks a specific Library owns, on the "Searching with limits" page: 

  • Enter an asterisk (*) in the "Search for works with this TITLE" field
  • Select "All Audiobooks" in the #1 "Search all items" field
  • Select your specific library location in the #6 "Search for items only at this library" field.
  • Remember - Library LIMIT (box 6) is the only LIMIT that can be combined with the others - so you cannot add another limit to this search.
  • Click on the arrow or your keyboard ENTER key to perform the search.

You can combine a wildcard search using an asterisk (*) along with a limit to return many combinations.

  • I.e., to find all movies in the kids' collections, type an asterisk (*) in the "Search for works with this TITLE" box
  • In #2, click on (select) the "Kids' Movies and Videos" limit
  • Click on the arrow or your keyboard ENTER key to perform the search. This will return all dvd/vhs movie titles, system-wide, in the Childrens' collections.

 

  • To add a specific library location, after typing an asterisk (*) in the "Search for works with this TITLE" box
  • And, in #2, selecting the "Kids' Movies and Videos" limit
  • Then, select a location in the #6 "Search for items only at this library" field.
  • Remember - Library LIMIT (box 6) is the only LIMIT that can be combined with the others - so you cannot add another limit to this search.
  • Click on the arrow or your keyboard ENTER key to perform the search.

  • If you search for cooking as a GENERAL search and select the LIMIT of "All Nonfiction books and materials", you will get books that have "cooking" listed in the title, subject, or notes fields in the item record.
    • This means that you will get more titles returned.
  • If you search for "cooking" as a SUBJECT and select the LIMIT of "All Nonfiction books and materials", you will get books that have "cooking" listed only in the title or subject fields in the item record.
    • This means fewer results to your search.

Unabridged audiobooks contain all of the words of the original work, whereas, abridged audiobooks have been shortened and condensed. Online, it can be difficult to tell which is which as there is not a clear marker in the catalog.

  • To find out if a title is abridged or unabridged:
    • At the item holdings page (the page that shows the Virtual Shelf Browser and Copy/Holding Information), look at the very bottom of the left column, under "Item Information"
    • See a link to "Full Cataloging Information"
    • When you click on "Full Cataloging Information", you see the raw information that feeds the catalog record*. You can see if an audio item is UNABRIDGED  or ABRIDGED by looking under the 500 tag.
  • * These are called the MARC (MAchine Readable Cataloging) records and are the foundation of library online catalogs.

No. There are no plans to retire the Classic Catalog.

Using the bookmark function on your browser, bookmark the eLibrary page when you have it open. You can use the page URL: http://157.145.215.81:81/rpa/default/RPA_redr.htm.

Yes. Most of our databases allow free access (meaning you don't have to use your library card number to authenticate) from inside of the library - whether you are on a public PC, database PC, or the library's wireless internet connection.

  • When Ventura County Library purchases databases, ebooks and eaudiobooks, we enter into a license agreement with the vendor regarding who has access to content. These agreements require us to authenticate your library patronage by using the 14-digit barcode found on your library card to gain entry.
  • Library Cards may be obtained at any Ventura County Library location by filling out an application form and presenting it with identification which shows your current street address. (Driver's license is preferred. If you have just moved, a letter or bill with your current address is acceptable. A child may bring in a parent's identification.)
  • Unfortunately, back when barcode cards were created, future applications and usage were unknown. We apologize for the long number!

First - be sure you have entered your 14 digit barcode correctly. Beyond that, there can be several reasons access is blocked:

  • Access issues - most of the databases require entry from our eLibrary page. If you try to bookmark the database site URL, you may have trouble accessing the database. Try again by navigating to our eLibrary page and then clicking on the database link.
  • Firewall issues - if you are accessing the page from behind a company or personal firewall, there may be issues with access to the page itself or some databases.
  • Seats - Some of the databases have a limited number of "seats." This is the number of people who can access the database at one time. We recommend you try again and/or contact the Web Librarian with the information itemized below.
  • Maintenance - occasionally, databases are offline for maintenance. Ideally, we are notified of such and can make a note.
  • Technical problems - it may be that one of many systems by which you connect has caused an interruption (phone lines, internet service providers, servers, etc.) If you feel the problem is on our end, please contact the Web Librarian with the information itemized below.

If you cannot gain access and you have verified your card number was entered correctly, please send an email to Ventura County Library's Web Librarian and state:

  • The database name
  • As much information about how you got to the database as possible
  • When you were denied access (date and time of day)
  • What the screen said when access was denied (an attached screen shot would be excellent!)

Authentication is done on pages requesting your library card barcode number. Sometimes the authentication is done by the library, sometimes by the database provider. This accounts for the different interfaces.

Databases have different reasons to ask you to create an account:

  • LearningExpress Library (LEL) - LEL provides online courses and tests which you may need to stop and restart. With your account, LEL allows you to keep track of your progress. You will always need to enter LEL from the eLibrary page
  • Mango Languages provides training modules and having an account provides the user the ability to work on these modules continuously over time and from any computer

If you are asked for an account number from any other databases, try your library card number. If that doesn't work, go back and be sure to enter the database through the eLibrary page.

If problems persist, please send an email to Ventura County Library's Web Librarian and include:

  • The database you could not access
  • As much information about how you got to the database as possible
  • When you were denied access
  • What the screen said when access was denied (an attached screen shot would be excellent!)

Gale PowerSearch cross searches multiple Gale databases at once: General OneFile, Junior Edition and the Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Here are the definitions:

  • An ebook is a digital representation of a printed book. One reads ebooks. (See below or for ebook vendors.)
  • An audiobook is a sound recording of a book. It may be in cassette tape, CD or MP3 format. One listens to audiobooks.
  • An eaudiobook is a downloadable audiobook. Overdrive and OneClickdigital from Recorded Books have eaudiobooks.

Yes. In fact, when you see eaudiobooks, it means downloadable audiobooks. Overdrive and OneClickdigital from Recorded Books have eaudiobooks. Checkout periods range from 1 day to 3 weeks.

 

Some are and some are not. Each collection, depending on the vendor, has different capabilities regarding ability to download, save, print, access through the library catalog, etc.  See the collections below to find what is allowed. The word "save" indicates a download saved indefinitely to your computer:

  • OverDrive - Downloadable eBooks. These ebooks work with most computers and on the Kindle, Sony Reader, the Nook, and the iPad, among others.
  • Axis360/Blio - eBooks available for download and transfer to PCs, iOS and Android devices. These ebooks use the Blio reader (also available for download on this site) as well as the ePub format.
  • EBSCOhost - viewable, downloadable; allows some printing
  • OneClickdigital - limited number of ebooks - all downloadable
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library - individual articles can be viewed, printed, saved and emailed
  • Missions of California - you can view and print. A 24 hour download to computer or PDA is allowed.
  • LearningExpress Library eBooks - you can view, save and print.

Yes! OverDrive now carries downloadable eBooks. These Kindle, EPUB and PDF ebooks work with most computers and on the Kindle, Barnes & Noble nook, Sony Reader, the Kobo eReader and the iPad.

Yes. For ebook collections included, you can click on the link in our online public catalog to access the ebook. The collections available through the catalog are:

  • Gale Virtual Reference Library
  • Missions of California

Yes. There are a couple of ways:

  • Click on the subject "Library Catalogs" and scroll down to find Ventura County Library. Click on the link.
  • At the top of the eLibrary page, see the "Home" link under the banner. Clicking on it will take you back to the home page of our web site which has several links to the catalog.

Access to the databases and the content therein should be given the same consideration you would give any copyright protected material. Salient issues are fair use and public domain. Especially sensitive to content owners is transfer of digital content although some databases allow limited emailing of content. Our recommendation is that you always consult the database vendor's pages for further information regarding your specific application. You may want to start with the "Terms and Conditions" link or "Terms of use" link. Most databases will also offer a "Contact Us" link if you need to ask for copyright permission.

  • Please see the TIPS and TUTORIAL links found at the end of some database annotations on the eLibrary page.
  • All of the databases and ebook collections have a HELP section once you have been authenticated.  
  • You can email research questions to a Research Librarian by using the email address: reference.librarian@ventura.org.
  • Please send any comments or questions regarding functionality to the Web Librarian.
  • Call your local library - see the Ventura County Libraries page for locations and hours.

Yes - many. The eLibrary page is the collection of databases the Library pays to provide patrons. There are also link to other web resources on many pages throughout the site, including the Need more information about ...? page, branch location's pages and the Kids' and Teen pages. We hope you enjoy exploring!

The Rules of Library Behavior may be found on our Policies page.

The Library's Computer, Internet and wireless access policy may be found on our Policies page as well as at the beginning of every session on our wireless network or on one of our public computers.

The Library's Internet Filtering Policy may be found on our Policies page.

The Library's Website Linking Policy may be found on our Policies page.

The Library's Donated Materials Policy may be found on our Policies page.

Meeting rooms are available at the following libraries:

To reserve a Meeting Room - please contact branch staff.

Here are the ways you can help your library:

  1. To donate your time, see our volunteer or Friends pages.
  2. Print and fill out our donation form for monetary gifts to the Library (sorry, no credit cards.) Please submit it, along with your check, to your local library. Checks should be made out to "Ventura County Library" and have the branch or type of donation specified in the notes field.
  3. Many of our libraries accept donations of used books, audiobooks, and DVDs. The library's Friends group can then offer the items for sale with proceeds going directly to the library.

     * Donations are accepted at most libraries and are tax-deductable - see our donation policy and ask for a receipt when you donate. 
     * Please only donate gently used, clean books, tapes, CDs, DVDs - we cannot accept moldy, mildewed or damaged items or items with missing parts. 
     * Because of limited storage, please consult library or Friends store staff before bringing a large donation. 
     * Be sure to follow donation guidelines for the specific library regarding magazines; some libraries do not accept magazines or have strict guidelines regarding which magazines they will accept. Check with library staff or Friends before donating.

  4. Register with eScrip and add Ventura County Library to your merchant loyalty card. [Participating merchants make contributions to Ventura County Library, based on purchases made by you, when you use the card you have registered.]
  5. Search with GoodSearch! On the GoodSearch homepage, choose Ventura County Library from their list of non-profits. Then, simply use GoodSearch to search the Internet as you normally would. The site is powered by Yahoo!, so you'll get high-quality search results. Fifty percent of the revenue generated from the GoodSearch advertisers is shared with the nonprofit organization of your choosing.

Thank you for thinking of Ventura County Library!

# # #

DONATED MATERIALS POLICY (Revised 12-2008)
The Ventura County Library appreciates your donation of books and other library materials.  If a donation is to be considered for addition to the library collection, it must be given to a staff member, who will issue a receipt for the donation.  Materials considered for the collection must have been published or released within the last two years, must be in excellent condition, and must be judged by staff to have value for the library collection.

Materials not added to the library collection may be given to Friends of the Library groups, which support library operations through book sales and other events.  In this way, every donation helps your local library.

Yes. The Friends of the Library have many bookstores located within or near the libraries.

 

Yes we do!

  • Our Need more information about ...? page contains links to many resources on:
    • Government Sites
    • ADA Resources
    • Career and Job Search
    • Health Information Sites
    • Help for tough times
    • Resources for Traumatic Events
    • Senior Resources
    • Veterans Resources
  • Our Homework Help page offers links to get kids started on homework assignments on:
    • Biography
    • California Missions
    • Countries
    • Mythology
    • Reading Skills
    • Science Projects
    • States
  • Our FAQ on Classic Catalog searching helps patrons find items in our Classic, online catalog
  • See also our comprehensive FAQ page

There is a rule of thumb and several exceptions - so it can be confusing! When you see (a gray version) of the symbol shown here beside a link, it means your computer will open a new window for that link and *in most cases* this means you are leaving Ventura County Library's website.

  • The exceptions include our catalog and our eLibrary, which both exist on separate servers than our website and so are "seen" by the software as separate websites. We find it more convenient for those to open in a separate window, so you can be in the catalog and on the website at the same time.
  • One other notable exception is BookLetters - an online vendor providing book lists, reviews and customizable newsletters. While we subscribe to their content and their pages look like our website, they are separate and those pages will open in a new window.

You may want to bookmark our Site Map page as your home page. It is a page of static links to all parts of the webpage.

Yes. All of our library locations* have public computer labs from which you can access the Internet and use Microsoft Office products: Word, Excel and PowerPoint (some have Publisher.)

Additionally, all locations of the Ventura County Library* have wireless access.

Your library card barcode provides access to the public computers available in our library computer labs. Your computing session is subject to time limits and availability.

For reference, our Library Policies.

* except the Museum of Ventura County - Research Library

YES! All locations of the Ventura County Library* have wireless access!

* except the Museum of Ventura County - Research Library

What you need to connect:

  • A Ventura County Library card and a PIN number
  • A wireless network interface card, 802.11b or later; newer laptops have built-in cards
  • A charged battery; electrical plugs may not be accessible
  • Compatible headphones if you plan to use audio files

Locate available wireless networks:

  1. For PCs… double click on the wireless icon in systray (right bottom) OR
    a. (Win Vista, XP) Start => Connect to => Show all connections 
    b. (Win 2000) Start => Settings=> Network Connections
    c. Double click =>Wireless Network connection
    d. View Wireless Networks. Double click on Ventura County Library network
  2. For Macs….
    a. Use the Airport Setup Assistant program. See desk staff for handout
    b. Locate the Ventura County Library wireless network
  3. Once connected, open your browser (e.g., Internet Explorer)
  4. Wait up to 15 seconds for Login page
  5. Type in your barcode and PIN number
  6. Accept the Terms of Service
  7. Login

Important, please note:

  • Printing is currently not available from the wireless network
  • Wireless is available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week [subject to local access & authority]
  • Library staff cannot assist patrons with technical issues

Printable screenshot handouts:

Yes. Our brochures are available online on our About Us page.

There are several ways to increase or decrease the size of text on webpages. We recommend using your browser to increase the size of website text and images. Here are just a few of the ways to increase and decrease your view without changing the resolution of your computer:

  • Hold down the Ctrl key (at the lower left of your keyboard and also to the right of the space bar) and hit the + (PLUS) key to increase the text size; the - (MINUS) key to decrease the text size.
  • Hold down the Ctrl key (at the lower left of your keyboard and also to the right of the space bar) and - if your mouse has a scroll wheel - roll your mouse scroll wheel back and forth to change the size of the page.
  • Internet Explorer - In the lower right hand corner of the Window, see the magnifying glass and percentage number. Click on the small arrow to see other choices or click on the percentage for set increase intervals.
  • Mozilla FireFox - Under the VIEW menu, click on ZOOM; select an option. Windows has a Magnifier tool as well: at your START menu, choose All Programs => Accessories => Accessibility => Magnifier. Your computer will adjust so any area you mouse over is magnified.