Ventura County Library
Ventura County Library is a public library system of 12 libraries in Ventura County, California. Ventura County Library may be found online at http://www.vencolibrary.org/. Ventura County Library features half a million items available for circulation and over 45 databases, including streaming video, downloadable music and thousands of downloadable ebooks and audiobooks available online. All branch libraries offer wireless access for library visitors, and have public computers available offering internet, word processing, and other online services.
The Ventura County Library system was organized in 1916. A history of early library services in the city of Ventura can be found in the Winter 1983 issue of the Ventura County Historical Society Quarterly, Volume 28, Number 2.
The Ventura County Library serves and issues library cards to all residents of the County, and to others living elsewhere in California upon request.
The Avenue Library occupies the lower floor of an historic landmark, "Casa de Anza", one of the few remaining brick buildings in the city from the 1920s.
The Avenue Library features a public art mural, "Portrait of a Neighborhood", by Catherine Day, currently an art instructor at Ventura College. This colorful mural wraps around three walls of the library and depicts scenes from the Chumash and mission era to contemporary street scenes and commemorates the designation of one of Ventura's oldest neighborhoods, the Simpson Tract, as a historic district.
The library has a computer lab and Homework Center, a copy machine, and a magnifying machine for people with low vision. The library has a collection of books and movies for both children and adults in Spanish. There is a small collection of the history of Ventura Avenue and West Ventura.
The library participates in the County Library’s Summer Reading Program and the El Dia de los Ninos/El Dia de los Libros in late April and the Fall Fun Day in late October are popular annual activities at the Avenue Library.
E. P. Foster Library, Ventura
The public library in Ventura joined the new County Library in 1916. The E. P. Foster Library opened in 1921 at its present location thanks to generous donations from Eugene Preston Foster and his wife, Orpha Mae Foster, who donated funds for a building that originally housed both the public library and city hall. The library building was constructed on what had been the property of the noted horticulturalist, Theodosia Burr Shepard. In 1959, new construction was fronted onto the original brick library that more than doubled the size of the library. In 1999, the library closed for several months for a major renovation that updated the infrastructure and opened the second floor for public access and service.
The Foster Library has expanded children's services on the second floor. There are storytimes on Tuesday at 10:30 am and Wednesday at 3:30, and on Saturday at noon a Paws for Reading program pairs children with trained dogs that the children can read to. Special adult collections include self-help law, a songbook and hymn book collection, and a job and career collection. The library collects heavily in cook books, creating and running a small business, as well as local, California and Western US history. The library is expanding its Spanish language collections for adults, and has a growing DVD collection. There is a large print collection. In addition to the adult fiction collection, Foster Library has separate collection for mysteries, science fiction, short stories and westerns.
The Topping Room, named after a previous County Librarian, Elizabeth Russell Topping, is available to groups in the community for public meetings for a charge. The room has tables and chairs, a projection screen, and rest rooms.
Meiners Oaks Library
Meiners Oaks Library is one of the oldest branches in the Ventura County Library system. VCL formed in 1916 and Meiners Oaks Library, known then as the Matilija Library, joined in 1917 at the invitation of the first County Librarian, Julia Steffa. By the 1930’s the library had outgrown its school location, changed its name to Meiners Oaks Library and moved into half of a military barracks.
Though tree-shaded, quaint, and conveniently located, the little library unfortunately had inadequate lighting and heating and no water. Library staff and the community were pleased when another affordable rental on the main street became available in 1958. The library moved to the new location and remained there until an even larger building with a lovely rear garden at 114 N. Padre Juan Avenue was rented in 1974. The Meiners Oaks Library has been located there ever since.
Oak View Library
The Oak View Library is located in the Oak View Park and Resource Center, which is a success story of a Community Works Project. The community of Oak View, through the efforts of local public and private organizations, grants, and individual donations, helped purchase and develop a former school property for public nonprofit use. The Oak View area assessment district voted a self-imposed tax to fund and sustain the project.
The Center is in the heart of Oak View with a playground, sports field, and buildings built in the "Ojai Scenic" style that embodies a love of natural light and art deco influences. Some of the services offered at the Center include the Oak View Library, Boys & Girls Club, Oak View Teen Center, Ojai Birth Resource and Family Center, and Smart Start Child Development Center.
Oak View Library offers a computer lab with word processing, Internet access, and black & white printing capability, a self-serve copy machine, wireless Internet access. A Homework Center, funded by the Ojai Valley Friends and Foundation helps young people Monday through Thursday from 3 to 5:30 pm. Collections include material of high-interest for children and teens, as well as popular, mystery and large print fiction for adults, a small selection of books on audio CD and a large collection of books on audio-cassette, a selection of DVDs and videocassettes, and a selection of Spanish-language materials for children and adults. In addition, the library has a collection of popular magazines and newspaper subscriptions to the Ventura County Star (kept for one month) and the Ojai Valley News (kept for three months). First known as "The Ojai," the Ojai Valley News has been in continuous publication since 1891, and serves a population of 30,000 people in the city of Ojai and surrounding areas.
Oak Park Library
The Oak Park library is a shared public library / school library facility with the Oak Park High School. the library has a computer lab and copy machine. There are a few Spanish books. There is a Friends of the Library used book store inside the library. Storytime at 10:30 every Thursday morning, and the We’ll Read book club for 3rd through 5th graders meets the first Tuesday of the month. The Lego Club meets in the library the first Saturday of each month. Oak Park Library has two "Kill a watt" kits available to check out that allow the a person to see how much electricity is being used at their home, sponsored by the Oak Park Unified School District's Edison Challenge teams in partnership with Oak Park Library. To further protect the environment, the rest rooms use recycled water. The library displays the annual winners of the Oak Park High School art competition sponsored by the Parent Faculty Committee.
In 1889 Ojai residents raised $100 and Sherman Thacher donated $500 for books, a library supporter donated a downtown lot and a local builder built a simple wooden building. The George Thacher Memorial Library opened in 1893. In 1907 the building was moved to a larger lot and expanded. In 1916 the Ojai Library became affiliated with the Ventura County Library. The library was moved again in 1928 to land donated by Edward Libbey and a new building designed by Carleton Winslow in a Spanish hacienda style. By 1979 the library needed more space. An addition was designed by architects Fisher and Wilde to double the size of the library to 5,200 square feet (480 m2) and blend with the original Winslow building. Now the library is again in need of an expansion. The Grow Your Library committee was formed in 2006 and is raising money to add a children’s wing and meeting room.
Port Hueneme Library
Port Hueneme’s first library was founded by prominent resident, Senator Thomas Bard, in the 1880s but closed a few years later. In 1909, the Women’s Improvement Club reestablished the Hueneme Library which operated as a branch of the Oxnard Library. Ventura County Library began operation of a branch library to serve the Hueneme School District and in 1936, Hueneme Library joined the Ventura County Library system. In 1960, the branch relocated to a new facility. The current facility was built in 1989, providing Port Hueneme residents with a library reflective of the community’s ocean environment, with natural light and ocean wave-inspired Italian glass mosaics by Ventura artist, Helle Scharling-Todd, “designed to express the conflicting energies found in the ever-changing sea.” Mosaics representing the tide begin outside the library and continue into the lobby; wave forms are depicted on the far wall inside the library.
The current building was designed by Scott Ellinwood and incorporates an energy efficient lighting system that makes use of natural light as much as possible (clerestories and windows glazed with high-transmittance, heat absorbing glass allow daylight to be used for interior illumination during the day; sensors switch on electric light as daylight fades).
The library has a computer lab and homework center, a copy machine, a microfilm reader printer and a microfche reader printer. Prueter Library has books in Spanish for both children and adults. Because the library is in the home of the navy base, the library makes an effort to collect materials about Port Hueneme, the Seabees, and the U.S. Navy.
The library has some collections of older papers, including the Port Hueneme Harbor Bulletin (Jun 1, 1938 – Aug 8, 1941) on microfilm; the Port Hueneme Herald (Aug 15, 1941 – May 1, 1942) on microfilm; the Port Hueneme Herald Express (1941–1945) with some missing issues, and (1946 – Aug 31, 1951) on microfilm; and, the Port Hueneme Pilot (Sep 1951 – Mar 27, 1963) on microfilm.
Annual special events include the Spring Carnival, held in late April, with games, prizes, and crafts are on hand for children ages 4–10. This annual event is a service project of the Teen Advisory Board and is sponsored by the Friends of the Port Hueneme Library. Also held annually is the Horror in the Stacks held in late October. The Library and the Teen Advisory Board invites teens (13-17) for a scary stroll through the “haunted” library. This annual event is sponsored by the Friends of the Port Hueneme Library.
There are many preschool storytime programs for ages 0–5 and Bilingual storytimes as well. The Friends have an ongoing book sale in the lobby of the Ray D. Prueter Library. A large book sale is held annually in April.
Other Library Systems
There are six city libraries within Ventura County:
- Blanchard Santa Paula Library
- City of Camarillo Public Library
- Moorpark City Library
- Oxnard Public Library
- Simi Valley Public Library
- Thousand Oaks Library
- "Ventura County eLibrary." Ventura County Library. N.p., 2012. Web. 20 Dec 2012. <http://184.108.40.206:81/rpa/default/RPA_redr.htm>.
- "WiFi @ Your Library." Ventura County Library. N.p., 2009. Web. 20 Oct 2011. <http://www.vencolibrary.org/wifi>.
- "Internet Access at Ventura County Libraries." Ventura County Library. N.p., 2009. Web. 20 Oct 2011. <http://www.vencolibrary.org/internet>.
- Ventura County Historical Society Quarterly. 28.2 (Winter 1983): n. page. Print.
- "Getting a Library Card." Ventura County Library. N.p., 2009. Web. 20 Oct 2011. <http://www.vencolibrary.org/card>.
- "Avenue Library." Ventura County Library. N.p., 2009. Web. 20 Oct 2011. <http://www.vencolibrary.org/locations/avenue>
- Mildred Ranger Schofield, A BRIEF HISTORY OF EUGENE P. FOSTER appended to HISTORY OF THE VENTURA COUNTY PARKS DEPARTMENT
- Kallas, Anne (April 1, 2009) "Remembering pioneer E.P. Foster" Ventura County Star Accessed 31 January 2014
- "E.P. Foster Library." Ventura County Library. N.p., 2009. Web. 20 Oct 2011. <http://www.vencolibrary.org/locations/epfoster>.
- "Oak Park Library." Ventura County Library. N.p., 2009. Web. 20 Oct 2011. <http://www.vencolibrary.org/locations/oakview>.
- "Oak Park Library." Ventura County Library. N.p., 2009. Web. 20 Oct 2011. <http://www.vencolibrary.org/locations/oakpark>.