Frequently Asked Questions - 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: 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 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.