Solutions to your real estate-related perplexities could start with your local library. The Kern County Library has books and online periodical databases to assist with various types of real estate research — home buying and selling, landlord-tenant issues, real estate agent licensing and more.

Our easy-to-understand Nolo Press books include the following titles: “California Tenant’s Rights,” “Leases & Rental Agreements,” “How to Buy a House in California,” “Essential Guide for First-Time Home Owners” and “Selling your House in a Tough Market.” Useful books from other publishers include “Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate” and “Keep Calm, it’s just Real Estate.” We also have a new book titled “Real Estate Licensing Exams.”

For up-to-date information on the real estate industry, the library provides access to Ebsco’s Legal, Small Business and Academic Search databases. These may be accessed within the library or from any other internet connection through your library card. From our research website,, choose “Business, Legal or Student” categories. Ebsco’s databases share a common interface, including the useful advanced search option, which can hook you up to instant full text, peer-reviewed or journal information, and many other search options, such as limiting by date or type of information.

Ebsco’s Legal Information Reference Center database includes a link to property and real estate, right at the initial search screen. When you click on it, it displays the subcategories: Buying a House, Foreclosure, Homeowners, Landlords & Property Management, Renters & Tenants Rights, and Selling a House. Clicking on any one of these gives you access to the relevant chapters from Nolo Press books. At any point in your exploration, a search box allows you to search for additional keywords.

The Ebsco Small Business Reference Center has a browse by category feature that includes real estate services in its alphabetical list. If you click on that, you can choose between articles and industry information. A sidebar shows helpful links for entrepreneurs, including start-up kit and business plans. Again, a search box allows for more focused searches.

Ebsco’s Academic Search Complete, through its advanced search feature, allows a search as specific as California home mortgages, limiting your full-text results to articles published between 2012 and 2017. In this way, you can obtain a results list of about 46 periodical articles. Using the scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals limit on top of that, the results dwindle down to nine. In comparison, a similar search in the legal database yields about 15 separate subject-specific chapters from six different Nolo Press books.

So, wherever you’re coming from, whether you’re a real estate agent, a home owner or home buyer, a renter or just trying to explore your options, these databases have a lot to offer. And your local library has not only its own books, but a whole San Joaquin Valley’s worth of public library books at your disposal; you can place a hold on books through our online catalog for delivery to your nearest neighborhood library branch. All this, and much more, can be accessed through your local library.

Katherine Ross is a reference librarian at the Beale Memorial Library, main branch of the Kern County Library system.

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