The Reporter decided to do its part this semester. We’ve asked contributors spread across the county to share some of their favorite places to study or get work done out of the office. If you’re in need of a place to cram when midterms arrive or a location to "work" remotely, we have a few options for you. Most are local, although a few *gasp* corporate chains found their way into this list. Meanwhile, although we’ve focused mostly on coffee shops, we’ve also visited libraries, bookstores and more obscure places all in pursuit of one thing: your grades.

And a little peace and quiet.

 

Santa Paula Coffee Company

943 E. Main St., Santa Paula, 933-1392

When you can hit the books: n/a

Price to stay awake: $1.75 for a medium coffee.

What you’ll experience: A huge place, with a backroom that is always quiet and usually empty; very high ceiling, elegant construction, nice outdoors for chatting in the sun. An excellent place for reading and studying – you’re sure to find a spot that suits your noise tolerance. Two restrooms. A little-known gem.

Fellow scholars: Businesspeople, students, the elderly, young moms escaping the house.

Internet access without the wires: Yes, free

– Kit Stolz

Coffee connection

311 East El Roblar Dr., Ojai, 646-7821

When you can hit the books: M-F 6 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat.-Sun, 7 a.m.-1 p.m.

Price to stay awake: $1.85 for a medium coffee.

What you’ll experience: Young proprietor Jon Furness comes all the way from Carlisle, near Scotland, to open a coffee shop near Ojai. (Well, love and family may have had something to do with it, too.) His place is small but extremely popular, partly because his coffee is superb, and partly because he’s such a charming fellow. If he doesn’t know your name already, he soon will. Sometimes gives away hot chocolate in gorgeous Latin-American cups.

Best chance to avoid distraction: For studying, come early in the morning (6-7 a.m.) or mid-afternoon (12-3:30 p.m.) … before the schools let out.

Fellow scholars: Lonely laptoppers blend with packs of young students and occasional hippies.

Internet access without the wires: n/a

Flies in the ointment: Chatter can be hard to avoid during busy periods.

– Kit Stolz

Bart’s Books

302 W. Matilija St., Ojai, 646-3755 • www.bartsbooksojai.com

When you can hit the books: Daily, 9:30 a.m.-Sunset

Price to stay awake: Small cups of frothy espresso available for bargain price of $1.

What you’ll experience: Don’t come for the coffee it’s mostly an afterthought (although not bad). Come to sit out in the sun and read, or study at tables. Quiet, peaceful, with the encouragement of being surrounded by thousands of books. Staff quite knowledgeable about literature and philosophy, and seems to enjoy questions. "World’s Greatest Outdoor Bookstore," they say.

Fellow scholars: Mostly book browsers, with tourists on weekends.

Internet access without the wires: n/a

Flies in the ointment: Teapot not working.

– Kit Stolz

Javalu Coffee

1129 Petit Ave., Ventura, 659-1765

When you can hit the books: M-F 5:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat-Sun 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

Price to stay awake: $1.60 for a medium coffee.

Fellow scholars: Neighborhood coffee aficionados, students and shoppers.

What you might like: The café offers more than 25 sugar-free flavors for drinks and also makes a great chai.

Internet access without the wires: Yes, free.

Flies in the ointment: The store closes early and is hidden away in East Ventura, tucked around the backside of the Ralph’s shopping center.

– Hannah Guzik

Peet’s Coffee & Tea

1171 S. Victoria Ave., Ventura, 654-9923 • www.peets.com

When you can hit the books: M-F 5:30 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 6 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Price to stay awake: $1.80 for a medium coffee.

Fellow scholars: A mix of business people from the County Government Center, college, students and soccer moms.

What you might like: Peet’s brews some of the finest teas available in Ventura and many of their teas and coffees are fair trade or organic.

Internet access without the wires: No

Flies in the ointment: There are a limited number of seats for studying and during peak hours the café may be busy with chatty customers.

– Hannah Guzik

Simones Coffee & Tea

7818 Telegraph Road, Ventura, 659-0860

When you can hit the books: M-F 5:30 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 6 a.m.-8 p.m.

Price to stay awake: $1.85 for a medium coffee.

Fellow scholars: Shoppers from the nearby Albertsons, neighborhood gossipers and plenty of people studying.

What you might like: The café has large windows on two walls, providing a spacious, outdoor feel, even if you are cooped up studying inside.

Internet access without the wires: Yes, free.

Flies in the ointment: The chaotic shopping center location may make studying difficult and the large windows may make you feel like you’re onstage.

– Hannah Guzik

Latte 101

5722 Telephone Road #11, Ventura, 658-2677 www.latte101.com

When you can hit the books: M-F 6 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat. 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

Fellow scholars: Ventura county hipsters, computer nerds, business people and students.

What you might like: The store has a relaxed vibe that distinguishes it from chain coffee shops and the friendly baristas get to know regulars by name.

Internet access without the wires: Yes, free.

Flies in the ointment: The location in the Vons shopping center could be distracting and the popular spot can get crowded.

– Hannah Guzik

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

4360 E. Main St., Ventura, 644-6000 www.coffeebean.com

When you can hit the books: Daily 5:30 a.m.-9 p.m.

Price to stay awake: $1.95 for a medium coffee.

Fellow scholars: Suits, students and shoppers.

What you might like: The coffee shop opens early and stays open late. Giant wooden tables provide a great study space and customers can also reserve a meeting room for group study sessions of 12 to 15 people.

Internet access without the wires: Yes, but not free, standard prices apply.

Flies in the ointment: During peak hours you may have to fight for a seat. The café is a bit more expensive than other spots.

– Hannah Guzik

Ventura College Library

4667 Telegraph Road, Ventura, 654-6382 www.venturacollege.edu/departments/student_services/library/index.shtml

When you can hit the books: M-Th 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m., F 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Price to stay awake: You can try to brew your own and sneak it in, but watch out for the eagle-eyed librarians.

Fellow scholars: College students, people studying for exams.

What you might like: The recently-remodeled library provides a very quiet work environment, and there are dozens of cubicles for studying, as well as rooms for group study sessions.

Internet access without the wires: Yes, computers with wireless also available for use.

Flies in the ointment: No coffee bar and the quiet environment may cause some people to fall asleep instead of study.

– Hannah Guzik

Starbucks

561 New Los Angeles Ave., Moorpark, (805) 552-9431 www.starbucks.com

When you can hit the books: 4:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Fri-Sat.. until 11 p.m.

Price to stay awake: About $2 for the coffee of the day.

What you might like: The best spot to study is along the wall right next to the barista. It is usually pretty quiet and people don’t bother you.

Fellow scholars: Mostly older high school and Moorpark College students hanging out in the evening. Outside there are a few tables, but clove cigarette smokers station themselves there for the evening and it just stinks. Inside is generally better. If you hit it just wrong expect to be mobbed by moms and their children lining up for their late afternoon fix.

Internet access without the wires: They offer T-Mobile Hotpsot wifi and it is free.

Flies in the ointment: The lighting can get to you after a while, especially if you are using a computer. Noise and distractions, especially during the mommy rush.

– Joan Trossman Bien

Thousand Oaks Library (Grant R. Brimhall Library)

1401 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, (805) 449-2660 www.toaks.org/library

When you can hit the books: Hours vary, but open daily.

Price to stay awake: Whatever it costs you to fill a Thermos and leave it in the car,or drink it outside on a couple of benches.

What you might like: Welcome to the grandest public library in East County. There are lots of little nooks to hide out and work. The stacks are open and it has been remodeled regularly, particularly because the original architecture was faulty and allowed for leaks resembling a monsoon. Tables where a group can work quietly together are available. Convenient location adjacent to a wonderful and huge park.

A little something extra: The library’s entrance is set amongst really large, old oak trees. Almost feels like a library back East. Almost.

Fellow scholars: Lots of moms and children in the mornings, students and seniors in the afternoon, and serious seniors attending lectures in the evenings.

Internet access without the wires: Yes, and it’s free, but the librarians do NOT want to be bothered with questions about technical assistance.

Flies in the ointment: Only Thousand Oaks residents can borrow books for free. Non-residents must pay for a library card and then it is limited.

– Joan Trossman Bien

The Experimental Café

401 S. A Street, Oxnard 385-3605 www.myspace.com/experimentalcafe

When you can hit the books: T-Sat., 10 a.m.-Midnight; Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; M 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Average price of a milkshake: $3

What you might like: A ‘60s-style restaurant decorated with kitschy memorabilia, located inside the old Woolworth Building in Downtown Oxnard. Low traffic during the day makes it an ideal place to crack open a book.

Fellow scholars: Teenagers and college students.

Internet access without the wires: Yes, free.

Flies in the ointment: The retro soundtrack and antique parlor games may prove to be a distraction. Plus, live music is featured there nearly every day, so finish up early.

– Matthew Singer

Oxnard Public Library

251 S. A Street, Oxnard, 385-7500 library.cityofoxnard.org

When you can hit the books: Hours vary Sat.-Th, closed F.

Price to stay awake: No actual coffee sold, but if you wish to read Antony Wild’s Coffee: A Dark History, it won’t cost you anything.

What you might like: A place which makes accessible many reference books and encourages its patrons to be quiet at all times.

Fellow scholars: Nerds, obviously – it’s a library.

Internet access without the wires: No.

Flies in the ointment: Will be shushed if you make ecstatic noises over new information learned.

– Matthew Singer

Benches at Mandalay Beach

Oxnard • www.ci.oxnard.ca.us

When you can hit the books: Anytime, but bring a flashlight after dark.

Price to stay awake: For those on raw diets, there ain’t nothing more raw – or inexpensive – as shoreline seaweed. Just don’t drink the water, OK?

What you might like: These sea-facing benches offer a perfect view of the ocean, to ease your mind into a zone of maximum concentration.

Fellow scholars: Bros, dude. Bros.

Internet access without the wires: Perhaps you could fashion a receiver out of some twigs.

Flies in the ointment: Intermittent weather, bird shit.

– Matthew Singer

Palermo

2364 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, 482-0036 www.palermocoffee.com

When you can hit the books: M-F 6 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat.-Sun 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Price to stay awake: $1.75 for a medium coffee.

What you might like: an independent coffee shop with big comfy couches and gelato, so it mixes up the typical coffee shop offerings for students with study cravings.

Internet access without the wires: Yes, free.

– Jenny Lower

Bookworm

2155 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, 482-1384

Price to stay awake: Whatever literary treasures you might discover. Consider this a place to perpetuate your fascination with learning.

What you might like: One of the last independent bookshops around. There are huge tottering shelves of books and the woman who owns it is fun to talk to. A good place for students who can afford it to support a store that has resisted the big Borders and Barnes and Nobles.

Fellow scholars: Bibliophiles.

Internet access without the wires: No.

Flies in the ointment: Floor to ceiling books might offer lots of ways to find rare or unusual books, but there’s nowhere around to relax and study.

– Jenny Lower

Zoeys

451 E. Main St., Ventura, 652-1137 www.zoeyscafe.com

When you can hit the books: Varies

Price to stay awake: $1.50 for a coffee with one free refill.

What you might like: Beautiful loft atmosphere with hardwood floors. A balcony overlooking a courtyard sets the scene on nice days. Lunch from the downstairs bistro can be brought up to you, while wine and beer in addition to the espresso menu takes the edge off the long hours cramming.

Fellow scholars: The panoply of Downtown characters, including bourgeois professionals, starving artists and sated art snobs pretending to be starving, city employees on break, students and tourists.

Internet access without the wires: Yes, free.

Flies in the ointment: Often closed on Sunday afternoons if no musicians are scheduled. Frequent concerts bring cover charges and a coffee house atmosphere often sacrificed for a packed bourgie house full of wannabe bohemians.

– Bill Lascher

Juice on Chestnut

27 S. Chestnut St., Ventura, 643-3775

When you can hit the books: M-F 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sun., Closes at 7.

Price to stay awake: About $4.50 for a 20-ounce smoothie.

What you might like: Tasty smoothies with all-organic ingredients instead of coffee, although a full selection of coffee drinks is available. Pleasant atmosphere with a nice couch hidden in a back corner that could be. Outdoor seating.

Fellow scholars: See Zoeys listing; also, bicyclists, construction crews, health nuts, hippies.

Internet access without the wires: Yes, free with purchase.

Flies in the ointment: Has been known to run out of basic smoothie ingredients at inopportune times. Can be slow, but if you’re studying they’ll bring your smoothie when it’s ready.

– Bill Lascher

Zaytoon Tavern

1070 E. Front Street., Unit A, Ventura

When you can hit the books: M-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.

What you might like: Not exactly a coffee shop, but this casual yet chic Lebanese eatery is an as yet unrecognized Ventura gem that offers a welcome escape on the outskirts of Downtown. Try some lebnah, hummus or a sampler of Lebanese appetizers or full plates as you study. Comfortable, cushy couches in one corner, quite a few tables and plentiful seating at the bar.

Fellow scholars: Not very many.

Internet access without the wires: n/a

Flies in the ointment: A little too quiet even as the pool table could pose some threat of distracting clatter. Despite the "Tavern" in its name there’s no liquor license yet, so the only drinks available are sodas.

-Bill Lascher 

Special thanks to Jenny Lower for last minute assistance in Camarillo.