All libraries are closed Thursday & Friday 11/26 & 27 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday

Book drops, phone service, and walk up holds pick up are available at all 12 VCL locations!
More information about walk up holds pick up here.

FAQ

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) are listed by subject. Click on any question to expand the answer.
You may also use the search field to look for an answer that contains a specific word or phrase.

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

Borrowing

How can I get a library card?

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.

Get a temporary card

Get a permanent card 

  • During the pandemic - Call your local library or speak with staff during walk-up service hours for instructions on getting a permanent card. Please note that the procedure for obtaining a card may be different during this time.
    • Please note, no paper applications will be available at holds pick up. You must first create a library card online or over the phone. 
  • 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 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.

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 notification will be sent to you if you have provided your email address on your library card application. 

 

What materials can I borrow and for how long?

Your library card is your key to borrowing books, cassettes, compact discs, 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.
  • DVDs and videocassettes can be checked out for three (3) weeks. These cannot be renewed.
  • 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.

How do I renew and/or return my library books and materials?

  • Items 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. 
    • Some items do not renew - these include DVDs, sketchbooks and short loan reference items. 
    • Most items may be renewed three times (for three weeks each checkout/renewal period) unless another customer has placed a hold on the book.
    • Items 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. 
  • 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, items may be returned in the branch library's book drop.
  • Because audiovisual materials can be damaged when heavy books fall on top of them in the book drop, we prefer cassettes, compact discs, and videocassettes be returned to the customer service desk during the branch library's open hours.

How much are overdue/lost fines and fees?

Please note: charge for items lost or damaged beyond use = replacement cost

General

  • Overdue fine: $.25 per item per day on most items
  • Maximum fine per item returned: $7.50

Short loan and reference books

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

Electronic items (available for loan at select branches)

  • eReaders
    • Per item per day: $5.00
    • Maximum fine per item: $25.00
  • Laptops/Tablets
    • Per item per day: $15.00
    • Maximum fine per item: $30.00 maximum with full replacement due after 24 hours
  • Internet Hotspots
    • Per item per day: $5.00
    • Maximum fine per item: $25.00

Note: There are no fines or fees for downloadable or streaming e-content!

See also: 

How can I pay my fine?

Payment of fines

  • Pay your fines online at our website, under the "Library Catalog" menu > Pay your fines & fees
  • You may also 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.

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

See also:

What happens if I lose or damage a library item?

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.

See also:

Can I borrow items from another library system?

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
  • Search for "WorldShare" by either scrolling down the page or by selecting the "W" in the A to Z list.
  • Click on the GO TO RESOURCE 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.

What is ZipBooks?

ZipBooks is a pilot project funded by the California State Library to help enhance library collections and rapidly meet customer needs via direct delivery through Amazon. Thank you for your interest in this exciting pilot!

ZipBooks may be used when customers request interlibrary items not owned by Ventura County Library.

  • Request items via our Tell us what to buy! page
  • Only print books or audiobooks can be requested (per the pilot project guidelines)
  • Requests are reviewed and filled centrally twice a week
  • Customers are allowed five items per month, just like an interlibrary loan request. If more are requested, they won't be filled until the next month
  • Item returns should go directly to branch staff similarly to interlibrary loan requests with the ZipBooks forms attached (i.e., not placed in book drops)
  • Some interlibrary loan requests may be filled using ZipBooks
    • The customer will be contacted via email to let them know their item is going directly to their provided address
    • If you would like to opt-out of this service, please note so in the "comments field" of your ILL request.
  • At the point of order, requestors provided name and address are given to our vendor Amazon to fulfill the request.
  • If you have questions related to ZipBooks, please contact us (email to liz.romero@ventura.org)

I lost my card. What should I do?

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.

I forgot my PIN. What do I do?

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, click on the "Forgot your PIN?" link on the login screen in the Enterprise Catalog (start by clicking "My Account").

Once you have your PIN - you can change it within our Enterprise Catalog under My Account > Change PIN.  

 

I used to have a library card - several years ago. Will it still work?

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.

Why do I need to bring my library card to the Library?

  • 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.

Why should I give you my email address?

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".

Can you email me my library card number?

We're sorry, but we do not email library card numbers. As you hear from other card companies, this is for your own protection as there are costs associated with the card and its number, and email is not secure.

If you have lost your card, you can get a replacement card for $1.00 at any of our locations by filling out our library card form and showing ID with proof of residence (see: How can I get a library card).

Does the Library have online registration?

You can get a temporary card number by registering online in our catalog.

Here's the process:

Start at https://www.vencolibrary.org/
     > Library Catalog [https://vent.ent.sirsi.net/client/en_US/default/]
           > Login (and in the dialog box) Click Register and follow the prompts.
**Be sure to save the number given! Use that as your library card number. It will expire after 90 days, hopefully, by then you can get to a branch to get the permanent card.

Where are the Library's book drops located?

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

Enterprise Catalog

How does my browser affect the speed of the catalog?

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

The following chart shows recommended browsers and versions for Enterprise 4.5 (2015):

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 7 and 8 MacIntosh

SEARCH Help

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).

How can I search for just audiobooks?

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. Currently, there are only 4 vendors in the Digital Catalog:  
      • Hoopla
      • CloudLibrary
      • 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

How do I request items from other branches?

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 from the drop-down menu
  • 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 customer service staff for help.

Enterprise catalog's HELP pages

Tell us what to buy!

What is under "My Account"?

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 email address, 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".

How can I get email notices?

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: 
                 --vent.ent.sirsi.net-- or www.vencolibrary.org and click on Library Catalog
    • 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):

I didn't get my notice. What happened?

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:

What can I do to ensure I receive my emailed notices?

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:

When would I use the "Select an Action" drop down menu?

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

What else can I do from the online catalog?

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

 

How can I use "My Lists"?

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).

Did My List migrate from the old, Classic Catalog to Enterprise?

Unfortunately, no.  You will need to recreate your "My List" in Enterprise.

Is the Classic Catalog going away?

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

Classic Catalog

Are all items available in the Classic Catalog?

No. All *physical* items in the libraries of the Ventura County Library (VCL) system are listed.

However, VCL provides access to ebooks, eaudiobooks, music, digital magazines, comics, and movies that are available online.

The Enterprise Catalog displays most of these digital resources when displaying search results.

How does the Search page work?

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 ANY Word search. This is a Google type search. If your search term is spelled correctly, ANY Word search will give you the most results. However, many of the results may seem unrelated.
  • If you do an ANY Word search, when you get your results, use the Limit boxes to narrow your choices. For example, if you do an ANY Word search for travel guides, there are more than 190 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 97 titles.

What are LIMITs and how can I use them?

  • 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.

I've found the title I want, but how can I see if you have any copies?

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

How can I find titles by an author when I'm not sure how to spell the last name (or what the full name is)?

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.

How can I find a title when I don't know the author or the full title?

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.

How can I find all audiobooks by a certain author or just all audiobooks the Library owns?

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 by author" box and click on (select) either the “Adult Audiobooks”, “Teen Audiobooks and Music” or “Children’s Audiobooks and Music” 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 by TITLE" field
  • Select "Adult Audiobooks" in box 1, “Kids Audiobooks and Music” in box 2, or “Teen Audiobooks and Music” in box 3. 
  • Select your specific library location in box 5 "Search for items only at this library" field.
  • Remember - Library LIMIT (box 5) 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.

How can I find all movies/videos for children/teens or just all movies/videos the Library owns?

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 box 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 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 box 5 "Search for items only at this library" field.
  • Remember - Library LIMIT (box 5) 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.

How do I request items from other branches (Classic Catalog)?

To request an item from the Ventura County Library online Classic 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.

What else can I do from the online catalog?

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.

How can I get e-mail notices?

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

See also (below):

I didn't get my notice. What happened?

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:

What can I do to ensure I receive my e-mailed notices?

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:

How can I use the "My List"?

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.)

Will the Classic Catalog go away?

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

eLibrary

What is the difference between ebooks, audiobooks and eaudiobooks?

  • An ebook is a digital representation of a printed book. One reads an ebook. Not all ebooks are downloadable (though many are), some can only be viewed within a browser, web app or webpage.
    See our ebook collections.
  • 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.
    See our eaudiobook collections.

How do I download books?

Hoopla, OverDrive, and OneClickdigital images

cloudLibrary is our primary vendor for popular fiction and nonfiction eAudiobooks (books you listen to on a computer or device) and eBooks (books you read on a computer or device)!

Other vendors ebook offerings:

 

Where can I find downloadable music and movies?

Ventura County Library features Hoopla for streaming music, films, and television.

Find Hoopla in the eLibrary

 

 

How can I get online assistance on how to use the eLibrary online resources?

  • All of the online resources and ebook collections have a HELP section once you have been authenticated.
  • Vendors with downloadable content (OverDrive, OneClickdigital, Hoopla, etc.) often have technical support pages (see annotations). These are a good option as the vendors have dedicated staff on call to answer your questions.
  • 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.

Why do I have to enter my library card number?

  • 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.

I've entered my card number and I still cannot get into the online resource. Why?

First - be sure you have entered your 14 digit barcode correctly. There may be several reasons access is blocked:

  • Authentication issues - many online resources require entry from our eLibrary page. If you try to bookmark the site URL, you may have trouble accessing the resource. Try again by navigating to our eLibrary page and clicking on the online resource 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 resources.
  • Maintenance - occasionally, online resources are offline for maintenance.
  • 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 name of the online resource
  • As much information as possible about how you got to the online resource
  • 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!)

Some eLibrary online resources ask or require me to create an account. Why?

Online resources have different reasons to ask you to create an account:

  • To track and save your progress in lessons and/or tutorials
  • To provide access from any device
  • To keep track of monthly download or streaming allotments

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

  • The eLibrary online resource you could not access
  • As much information as possible about how you accessed the online resource
  • Date and time of attempted access
  • Your device, operating system, and browser
  • Any error messages (an attached screen shot would be excellent)

I don't have a card yet, can I use online resources when at the library?

Yes. Most of our online resources allow free access (meaning you don't have to use a library card number to authenticate) inside of our library buildings.

Can I share a copy of what I have downloaded or printed?

Access to the online resources 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 online resources allow limited emailing of content.

Our recommendation is that you always consult the online resource'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 resources will also offer a "Contact Us" link if you need to ask for copyright permission.

Career Online High School

What is Career Online High School?

Career Online High School (COHS) is an online high school diploma and career certification program available through the Ventura County Library System.

Ventura County Library has temporarily suspended enrolling new students while we raise the money for more scholarships. 

** Interested parties or those interested in donating to sponsor a student may call us at: (805) 677-7159  to be placed on the waiting list for when we open again.

Who can apply to Career Online High School?

Ventura County residents (at least 19 years of age), who have completed 8th grade and wish to earn their high school diploma are eligible to apply.

Applicants must have a Ventura County Library card in good standing (or be willing to obtain one).  

Scholarships are limited and priority will be given to applicants living in the Ventura County Library service  area.

How will people be selected for the program?

Applicants will be required to successfully pass an online self-assessment and prerequisite course to participate in the program. Enrollment will be limited and the demand is expected to be high.

What other resources does Ventura County Library have for adult learners?

The Ventura County Library (VCL) offers FREE one-to-one tutoring for adults who want to improve their reading and writing skills.

VCL also provides access to LearningExpress Library for adult learners.

Find many more online resources in the eLibrary!

How long will it take me to complete the program?

Depending on how many credits you transfer in, you can be on your way to earning your high school diploma in as little as five months. You will be given up to 18 months to complete the program.

How much time will I need to dedicate to my coursework?

We recommend that you dedicate 8-10 hours per week to your coursework. Your academic coach will help keep you on track! We also provide you with a pace guide that helps you move through the program by completing one credit every two weeks.

When can I work on my courses?

Courses are self-paced and taught in an online learning environment, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What if I need help with my coursework?

Your academic coach will connect you with one of the COHS instructors, who will provide you with additional academic support, when needed. Your library may also offer support.

Will COHS students get a GED?

No. This is not a GED or other high school equivalency program. Successful graduates will earn a high school diploma and a career certification through an accredited online high school.

What is the difference between high school equivalency (GED, HiSET, TASC) and a high school diploma?

While both high school equivalency and the high school diploma are important, there are several differences between them. Among the most significant is the fact that some colleges, institutions and organizations require a high school diploma and may not accept an equivalency.

In addition to providing a high school diploma, Career Online High School gives students the benefit of earning a career certificate and completing additional job preparation documents and training.

What type of career certification will be offered?

Through COHS, students may earn a certificate in the following areas:

  • Childcare and Education
  • Certified Protection Officer (Security Officer)
  • Office Management
  • Certified Transportation Services (Trucker/Commercial Driver)
  • Homeland Security
  • General Career Preparation
  • Retail Customer Service Skills
  • Food Service and Customer Service Skills

If I choose a career certification in an area such as child care, how will I train to work with children?

While we provide you with all of the coursework needed to qualify for a child care certification, you will need to find a local agency in your community to fulfill the hands-on training hours required. Your library may be able to assist.

What is the career portfolio?

To arm you with the tools you need to find a job, we will teach you to create essential documents, such as your resume and a cover letter.

Is all coursework web-based?

Yes.  But for the in-person interview prior to receiving a scholarship (see How It Works), you will be required to visit your library.

What device(s) can I use to access my coursework?

You must use a desktop or laptop. A smart phone, tablet or iPad will not support the learning management system.

If you do not have access to a desktop or laptop, your library can help.

Is all coursework in English?

Yes. At this time, all coursework is available in English only.

Will I need to purchase textbooks?

No you will not; however, the Language Arts classes may require novels, which you can purchase or check out of the library.

Is COHS accredited?

Career Online High School is accredited as an online school district by the AdvancED Accreditation Commission, the national commission that confers the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI) accreditation seal. This means that the SHCOE district and all of its schools are accredited, and that Smart Horizons Career Online Education is recognized across the nation as a quality school system, delivering a SACS accredited online high school diploma.

Students and community members can learn more about the district accreditation process at: www.advanc-ed.org.

Will my local community colleges and universities accept a Career Online High School diploma?

It is important to understand that a high school diploma alone (from any type of accredited high school) is not enough to guarantee a student admission into a college or university, as each post-secondary institution has its own minimum standards including admissions exams, standardized test scores and other criteria.

If you are interested in attending a particular college or university, we recommend that you contact that institution’s admissions office to confirm whether the COHS diploma will satisfy their requirements.

What if I need help with the admissions process following graduation?

Career Online High School is committed to the success of its graduates as they advance into the workplace or postsecondary education and training.

Any alumni of the COHS program who have questions about their transcripts or meeting college admissions requirements may call 1-888-408-5783 or email enrollment@shcoe.org for support.

Is the COHS staff credentialed? When are they available to assist students?

Yes, all COHS instructors are state-certified. Most of the academic coaches and academic instructors are located in Florida.

Office hours are 8 am to 5 pm Central Time; however, coaches have evening hours twice a week and the hours will likely be expanded.

Coaches/instructors are not exclusively assigned to specific libraries. Each student’s assigned academic coach will welcome the student initially and then reach out at least once every two weeks – and more often for students needing additional assistance.

Does my library offer other resources for education and job preparation?

Ventura County Library is committed to helping people meet their education and job preparation needs. You are encouraged to visit your nearest branch and speak to the staff to help you find a local agency or resource that will best fit your needs.

Ask your library about the following services: online learning resources; GED preparation; career preparation; and adult literacy programs.

How do I get started?

Complete an online self assessment. After you have successfully finished the self-assessment, you will be contacted by your library within 5 business days to discuss the prerequisite course.

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be contacted again by your library within 5 business days to schedule an interview and discuss your application into the program.

Library Policies

What are the Rules of Library Behavior?

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

What is the Library's Computer, Internet and wireless access policy?

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.

What is the Library's Internet Filtering Policy?

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

What is the Library's Website Linking Policy?

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

What is the Library's Donated Materials Policy?

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

Miscellaneous

Does the library have meeting rooms for public use?

Meeting rooms are available at the following libraries:

To reserve a Meeting Room - please contact branch staff.

Does the Library teach adults to read?

How can I donate to the library?

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 Friendsgroup can then offer the items for sale with proceeds going directly to the library.

     * Donations are accepted at most libraries and are tax-deductible - 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!

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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.

Do libraries sell used books?

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

Are library brochures available online?

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