“Thumb-body” Loves Them

By Tiffani Stewart

St. Charles City-County Library District 

Some of them are slumped in their chairs, half asleep. Some are alert, but wary. Most are quiet, listening, and waiting. Several are young and have disabilities. Many are old. All are in need of assistance and companionship, so they stay at St. Elizabeth’s Adult Day Care Center during the day. The St. Charles City-County Library District provides outreach programming to this facility and many others like it. Today is adult story time at St. Elizabeth’s.

As Emily, an employee in the Extension Services department of the Library, comes in to set up, she talks quietly to a caregiver and puts a music CD in the player. She pulls books, paint, and paper from her bag. She sits, smiles brightly, then asks the circle of adults, “What do you love?

“My family,” one woman says softly.

“I love my family too,” says the man next to her. His legs are covered in an orange afghan.

A young woman replies, “Going out to eat,” in a slurred voice.

Emily asks, “Katrina, where do you love to go out to eat?”

“Pasta House.”

“I like the salads at Pasta House,” Emily explains.

“Ugh. Not salads. Cheeseburger with bacon,” corrects the young woman, “and french fries with ketchup!”  Some in the room giggle.            

Emily continues asking them what they love, then starts a story about a young boy who slowly learns to love his baby sister. She moves on to a story about friends, then stops to stand and hand out egg-shaped objects.

“Is this an emu egg?” asks a man in a wheelchair.

“Not an emu egg,” Emily answers. “It’s a musical instrument called a maraca. Shake it!”

The participants shake their maracas and some of them smile.

“What do we do with it?” asks one.

“I need some help with this song. We’re going to sing, ‘You Are My Sunshine’,” Emily answers.

She begins shaking her maraca to a beat and the other adults follow—mostly. Men and women around the room jiggle, smack, and rattle their egg-shaped colorful maracas, many to their own beats, but the sound they make is beautiful somehow.

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,” Emily sings. The others quickly join in, “You make me happy when skies are grey!”

Those that were quiet or hiding under blankets peek out and perk up. Several join the song. One man who refused to tell the group what he loves hits the maraca against his leg and nods his head to the music.

“You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you…” More voices lift up and the maracas grow louder. Now, just about everyone in the circle is smiling and singing.      Heads are nodding in time to the maracas.

“Please don’t take my sunshine away!”

As the song comes to a close, the participants talk animatedly to one another.

“That was a good one!”

“So sweet…”

“It’s a simple song to sing. That’s why I like it.”

Emily starts the music CD and lets the group play their instruments to the Nat King Cole song, “L.O.V.E.” They hear a picture book about the power of community, then create a group Valentine using their thumbprints. Emily reminds them that “thumb-body” loves them, then says goodbye.

She packs up to a chorus of “Goodbye!” and “Thank you!” from the group. They regularly enjoy stories, songs, and the company of others even though they can’t get to the library. An hour of Emily’s time makes a few adults feel loved at St. Elizabeth’s today.            

Outreach services offers programming, “Books to You” delivery, and discussion groups for the homebound.  Want to know more? Contact Kristen Sherry at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If you can make it to the library, count your blessings. Then come in!  We’ve got some great classes and events for you:


  •  Money Smart Month (all branches), April

Ready for “change” in your financial life? The library is offering many different programs related to money this month at branches all over St. Charles County. Ask for a schedule at your nearest branch, or check our calendar online at www.youranswerplace/ecalendar. Get MONEY SMART.

  •  Cardinals Home Opener Celebration (all branches), Thurs., Apr. 5th, 3:00-8:00 p.m.

Welcome Cardinals baseball back to St. Louis by wearing your Cards gear to the library and snacking on some game-day popcorn as you browse what’s new in our collections.

  •  Code.FUN! (Augusta), Sat, Apr. 7th, 9:00 a.m.-12 noon, April 9thand 10th, 12 noon-8:00 p.m.

Drop in to play with Snap Circuits and Code-a-Pillars. These toys are tools to help you have fun with coding, sequencing, and problem solving.

  •  National Library Week (all branches), April 8-14

Maybe you use the library for internet, borrowing materials, or learning in person with classes and events. However you use it, the library is for and about you—our community. Help us celebrate this week by filling out a comment card to let us know what the library means to you.



  •  Fiction Fans Book Discussion Group* (Boone’s Trail), Mon, Apr. 9th at 6:00 p.m.

Read The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens, then join us for great discussion. Did he do it?

  •  I Love Quilts (Augusta), Tues., Apr. 10th, 2:00 p.m.  

This quilt is a mystery! That’s right, pick up the first two steps of your mystery quilt this month. We demonstrate Fabric Bucket. Don’t forget to share your ongoing projects with us.

  •  MahJongg* (Boone’s Trail) Thurs., Apr. 12thand 26th, 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Join a fun group with sharp minds! Learn and play MahJongg every other Thursday.

  •  Book Discussion (Augusta), Mon., Apr. 16th, 2:00 p.m.

We’ll discuss Universal Harvester by John Darnielle. Pick up your copy of this haunting mystery today.  You’ll be thinking about this read long after it’s finished.

  •  New Melle Nonfiction Book Discussion Group*(Boone’s Trail), Thurs., Apr. 19th, 10:00 a.m.

Get to know J.D. Vance in his book, Hillbilly Elegy.  We’ll have a great discussion about this memoir that took America by storm last year.

  •  Movie Talk: Get Low* (Boone’s Trail) Mon, Apr. 23rd, 6:00 p.m.

Check out “Get Low” and watch at home, then join us for a great discussion and a tasty treat.

  •  Coffee at the Library (Augusta), Thursdays at 9:00 a.m.

Come in for a fresh cup of hot goodness while you browse the library’s latest materials.

  •  Knit-a-Long (Augusta), Thursdays at 2:00 p.m.          

The Augusta Knitting Club meets every Thursday to create with friends.


  •  Story Time (Boone’s Trail), Tues., Apr. 3rd or Thurs., Apr 12th, 10:30 a.m.

Stories, songs, and crafts to enhance early literacy. Story time is open to children ages 3-6.

  •  Tale Waggers* (Boone’s Trail), Tues., Apr. 10th at 6:00 p.m.

Bring a book or choose one of ours to read to an attentive, adorable dog for 10 minutes. Dogs are good and patient listeners. Presented by Love on a Leash.

  •  Story Time (Boone’s Trail), , Apr. 17th, 6:00 p.m. or Thurs., Apr. 26th, 10:30 a.m.

Stories, songs, and crafts to enhance early literacy. Story time is open to children ages 3-6.

  •  Plein Air Kid’s Paint* (Augusta), Mon., Apr. 23rd, 3:30

Join an artist to learn painting techniques. Create your masterpiece…just like the Plein Air artists!



  •  Poetry Creation Station (Augusta), Mon., Apr. 2nd, 12:00 noon-8:00 p.m. drop in

We have the words, you create the poem! Drop in anytime to play at our Creation Station.

  •  Money Smart Savings (Augusta), Apr. 21st, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon drop in

Have you been babysitting or mowing lawns? Drop in to create a money savings jar and learn lifelong skills for saving that hard-earned money.

  •  Movie Night: October Sky (Augusta), Wed., Apr. 25th, 6:30 p.m.

Enjoy popcorn and light refreshments during a viewing of October Sky. If you love rockets, don’t miss this one!

*Register at www.youranswerplace.org or call Boone’s Trail at 636-398-6200 or Augusta at 636-228-4855.


Boone’s Trail and Augusta branches are open Mon. and Tues. from 12:00 noon-8:00 p.m., Thurs. from 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m., and Sat. from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon. Boone’s Trail is also open Wed. from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon.