Nothing succeeds like success — especially when students are involved.

That adage is being proven again, this time in an area called Meagan’s Place to the immediate right of the front door in the library. Meagan’s Place, a special space created four years ago, is devoted entirely to books and games of interest to early teens in the sixth through ninth grades.

At its inception, materials in Meagan’s Place were chosen primarily by a sixth grade committee of students. Their input was so useful that those sixth graders have continued to serve as advisers as they moved forward into higher grades, and now there also are committees representing the seventh and eighth grades.

This year’s new sixth grade committee is made up of Elias Appenzeller, Kyle Casceli, Jacqueline Garcia, Matthew Long, Ayriana Rackham, Will Smock-Egan and Marley Weaver-Gabel. All are avid readers. They each have created lists of their personal favorites — books they have enjoyed and think would be good for other kids as well.

If any books that members of the committee recommend were not currently available at Meagan’s Place, they have been purchased through a special grant from an anonymous benefactor. He created this space at the library as a living memorial to 13-year-old Meagan, his granddaughter, who died tragically in Ohio in May 2004. Also, if a book on the committee’s list was so well-read or old that it was in bad condition, a new copy was purchased.

“One the best things about Meagan’s Place is the input from the student committees,” said Jackie Welch, Sisson Library director. “Their involvement ensures the books are relevant to their lives and interesting enough to attract more teens to take advantage of the treasures in our library.”

Meagan’s Place has become popular among the Pagosa youth for whom it was created. It is not uncommon on an after-school afternoon to see the area being enjoyed by readers, kids playing games or chatting quietly in the corner – or all three. A major advantage to Meagan’s Place is that all books appropriate for this age group are easily accessible in one area of the library.

The furniture in Meagan’s Place undoubtedly adds to the attraction. The area has a homey atmosphere because it is furnished with comfortable chairs and a couch, plus tables more reminiscent of a living room than a study area.

Early teen books recommended by the sixth graders

Many new books have just been added to Meagan’s Place at the suggestion of the sixth grade advisory committee. They got their ideas from their own favorites, from visiting bigger libraries, reading about different authors and seeking advice from previous Meagan’s Place advisers.

The books include “Space Station Seventh Grade” by Jerry Spinelli, “The Castle Corona” by Sharon Creech, “The Fire Eternal” by Chris D’Lacey, “The Keys to the Kingdom: Superior Saturday” by Garth Nix, “SilverFin” and “Blood Fever” James Bond adventures by Charlie Higson, “Half Moon Investigations” by Eoin Colfer, “Time Cat” by Lloyd Alexander, “Hate That Cat” by Sharon Creech, “The Battle of the Labyrinth” by Rick Riordan, four books from the Green Knowe fantasy series by L.M. Boston, and eight Nancy Drew mysteries by Carolyn Keene.

Other new books for early teens

Other recent additions to the library’s Meagan’s Place collection for sixth graders and older include “The Underneath by Kathi Appelt, “Dream of Jade: The Emperor’s Cat” and “The Golden Dream of Carlo Churchio by Lloyd Alexander, “Science Fair” by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, “Friendship Isn’t Always Sunny Side Up” and “Smiles To Go” by Jerry Spinelli, “Utterly Me” by Clarice Bean, ”Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Journey To Change the World One Child A Time” by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin, “Scat” by Carl Hiaasen, “Seekers: Great Bear Lake” by Erin Hunter, “Savvy” by Ingrid Law, “A Stranger At Green Knowe” by L. M. Boston, “You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Roman Gladiator” by John Malam, “You Wouldn’t Want To Be An American Colonist” and “You Wouldn’t Want To Live In A Medieval Castle” by Jacqueline Morley, “Snowboard Camp” by Matt Christopher, “The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars” by Jeremy Simmonds, plus the five books of The Chronicles of Prydain” by Lloyd Alexander.

Nonfiction for adults

“The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century” by George Friedman forecasts changes and wars we can expect around the world in the 21st century. “We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land” by former President Jimmy Carter outlines a plan he believes will work. “Animals Make Us Human: Creating The Best Life For Animals” is written by animal scientist and autism advocate Temple Grandin.

Large print novels

“Heart and Soul” is a novel set in Ireland by Maeve Binchy. “The Second Opinion” by Michael Palmer is about a doctor involved with Doctors Without Borders in Africa. “The Renegades” by T. Jefferson Parker is a murder mystery set in the West. “Mistress of the Art of Death” by Ariana Franklin is a mystery set in medieval Cambridge.

Thanks to our donors

We are grateful to Jeanette Pike for her generous donation for children’s programs. For books and materials this week we thank Terry Andersen, Bobbie Coppenger, Dick Cole, Susan Dussell, Sky Gabel, Cecilia Hopper, Bamma Laizure, Merilyn Moorhead, Carl Neuitt and Cathy Rutherford.

Quotable quote

“Show me a kid who loves to read — I don’t care of it’s a comic book, a science fiction novel, or a book about the history of dinosaurs — and I’ll show you a kid who’s going to do well in life.” — Auto executive Lee Iacocca ,in his autobiography.


PREVIEW photo/Carole Howard
Meagan’s Place, to the immediate right of the front door in the Sisson Library, is devoted entirely to books and games of interest to early teens in the sixth through ninth grades. Many new books have just been added to Meagan’s Place at the suggestion of the new sixth grade advisory committee.  They got their ideas from their own favorites, from visiting bigger libraries, reading about different authors and seeking advice from previous Meagan’s Place advisers. This year’s sixth-grade advisory committee is made up of (standing, left to right) Elias Appenzeller, 12, Jacqueline Garcia, 12, and Matthew Long, 13, along with (sitting, left to right) Kyle Casceli, 12, Marley Weaver-Gabel, 11, and Will Smock-Egan, 12.  Missing from the photo is Ayriana Rackham.  All are avid readers.  Their book recommendations were purchased for Meagan’s Place through a special grant from an anonymous benefactor.