Fireflies produce a chemical reaction inside their bodies that allows them to light up and communicate.
Children's public library programming, such as Catch the Reading Bug, Knights of the Round Table, and the Princess Tea Party allow children a similar chance to communicate and have fun with a book in-hand.
While shelves full of books are the part of the library's operating fund, youth programs are not, those dollars, about $3,000 in 2007, come from local businesses, individual and the Friends of the Library, said Payson's library director, Terry Morris.
Approximately 200 children participated in the 2007 summer reading program, "Superheroes Capture the Imagination." Each child read books, played games and earned prizes such as fun toys, puzzles, books, superhero figurines, backpacks and lunch boxes.
Morris estimated the cost at $20 per child.
Harryette Stanley, children's programming librarian, stretches the money left over from the summer reading program to offer children activities throughout the year.
People donate more than green-and-white bills.
"Some of the things we were able to do, like the tea party, were because local people and the thrift store donated clothes and dress-up jewelry," Stanley said.
Stanley built story time around koala puppets a patron donated. Another family made and donated a piñata, which she filled with candy someone else had donated.
Youth Event calendar
The next three meetings of The Spy Club, for readers 7 to 17 years old, meets Feb. 16, March 15 and April 12.
Dr. Seuss Family Night is 5:30 to 7 p.m., Monday, March 3. A Dr. Seuss character will read and entertain all ages. The event is free. Hot dogs are $1.
Young chefs can sign up in the library for Cooking with Kids. Then, on Wednesday March 12, they will get to cook and taste yummy treats in the kitchen.
Because the tea party was such a success, Stanley decided the boys, ages 5 to 10, needed an event of their own.
The library's own Harry Kuperberg will set aside his technical services title and assume the role of King Arthur from 3 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 19. Knights of the Round Table is for boys who want to train to be a knight, rescue damsels, fight dragons and learn the code of chivalry.
April 30 is International Children's Day. There will be piñatas for all ages, bilingual story time, food and prizes at the library's Dia de los Niños.
If your mother ever said, "you can go to the water, but don't get wet," Summer Sun Splash would have made her happy.
"Come and play beach ball games, win tickets to Taylor Pool, make new friends for the summer and learn about the summer reading programs," Stanley said.
The Head Start on Summer Fun happens May 17.
Children ages 3 to 12 can Catch the Summer Reading Bug beginning Tuesdays and Wednesdays in June.
Metamorphosis is the theme of the reading program for ages 8 and older.
"We'll be talking about changes in tweens," Stanley said.
Her interpretation of the Guinness Book of World Records is open to children of all ages, July 19.
Be part of history
Can you blow the biggest bubble? Can you gather your friends and all sit in one chair? If so, then the library will be the place to get your name recorded in the historic scrapbook Stanley will create from all the participants' record-breaking achievements in tomfoolery.
Cinderella and her sisters will have to wait in line to get into the Princess Tea Party, but Aug. 16, girls ages 4 to 7 and, Aug. 30, girls ages 8 to 12, will get to play dress-up and sip tea like princesses.
Teens can create their own monsters out of slinky toys, duct tape, cans and paint during Creature Feature, Oct. 7.
Preschoolers and kindergartners have always seemed to enjoy when Stanley reads them "Miss Spider" books. Oct. 31, the little children will get to celebrate with the fuzzy, yellow spider, games and treats.
Stanley is planning an Artrageous Art Fair for a series of Saturday afternoons in November.
Local artists will share their talents and help youths create jewelry, draw and paint.
"The kids will also do parts of a mural on canvas," Stanley said.
The Tiny Tots Christmas Program rounds out 2008 with stories, puppets, sing-a-longs, crafts and snacks for ages 3 to 5.
Sign-up is required for programs except Dr. Seuss Family Night and Dia de los Niños.
The library recently sent out its fund-raising letters for children's programming.
"The community has always been wonderful, which allows us to step outside the box and put together great stuff. Harryette's talent speaks for itself," Morris said.
For more information, contact Harryette Stanley at email@example.com. The Payson Public Library is located at 328 N. McLane Rd., (928) 474-9260.