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Frequently Asked Questions


I'm coming from out of town; can I arrange for special days/times to use the collections?

Yes, Special Collections staff can usually accommodate additional hours on weekdays with prior notice. Please call ahead or email for an appointment. You do not need an appointment to visit during our normal open hours.

I'd like to donate materials, and I want to know how much they are worth. Can you give me an idea of the value of my item/collection?

No, federal tax law makes it illegal for Special Collections staff to give appraisals or assign values. To see the IRS rulings on how to appraise donations, please visit the IRS Website or download the publication 561.

Why can't I copy audio materials or scripts from the 1940s or before without permission? Aren't they all in the public domain?

There are a variety of reasons that make it hard to copy these materials. Some scripts and audio were donated for study only, with a specification that no copying would be allowed. Other materials fall under not only copyright, but also under licensing laws. Cornell University has a diagram of when materials enter the Public Domain at copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm.

I have cassette tapes from popular radio shows that I taped during broadcasts. Can I donate them to the Archives?

Due to licensing and copyright law we cannot accept this type of copied audio material.

I have an old book, would you like it for the Special Collections?

Special Collections accepts books that fall into our three collection areas: Book Arts, Broadcasting, and Local History.  We do not collect books, newspapers, or magazines that are of general historic events. Please contact our office if you have items to donate.  Books that do not fit our scope may be of interest to the Friends of The Library for their book sales.

Are you interested in snapshots of the Conejo Valley?

Yes, we are very interested in collecting images of the Conejo, particularly those taken before 1980. If you have photos you think would be of interest, please contact our office.

Why don't you have all of the local yearbooks?

The yearbook collection is compiled by donations, and while staff are continually searching for missing issues, they can be hard to find. Special Collections is always glad to get donations of clean copies of yearbooks for any of the local schools.

How can I find older directory information for the Conejo Valley?

In Local History there are business directories back to 1964, and telephone directories back to 1976. Before 1964 there is no separate Conejo/Thousand Oaks directory, instead, listings would be for Ventura County. For earlier telephone directories and city directories, you may wish to contact the Ventura County Public Library, or the Los Angeles Public Library, Central Branch, Dept. of History and Genealogy.

What is the Conejo Valley?

The Conejo Valley is the area of the old Rancho Conejo land grant. Basically, this is the valley bounded by the Santa Monica Mountains to the South and West, the Conejo Grade to the West, the Santa Rosa and Simi Hills to the North, and by Lindero Canyon to the East.

I need to repair/rebind an old book. Do you have a local bookbinder or book repair referral?

Do your research prior to repairing or rebinding old books, as repairs can diminish value. There are no local book repair services in Thousand Oaks, but you can find companies in the Greater LA area. Try searching the Internet or in telephone directories under "book binding and repair."

I suffered a fire/flood/insect problem at home, and need to clean and do minor repairs to my books/photos/papers. Can you tell me where to start?

Please see "Preservation" for URL's that give advice to help you preserve and clean your personal collection.