When many people think of local public libraries, books come to mind. But in the 21st century local public libraries offer so much more than words on paper. They are an essential part of every community, large or small. Many people are introduced to local public libraries through their children. Most local public libraries have an active childrens department. This is usually a colorful environment with a play area for toddlers, board games for grade school age children to play, computers for older children to use, and, of course, shelves of interesting books. Special childrens programming often includes story hours, movies, seasonal craft activities and reading clubs. The childrens department also hosts special programs ranging from nature talks complete with visiting animals to live musical performances. The adult department at local public libraries has taken a drastic change in the past decade. Patrons can still search for books by author, title, or subject. But instead of a wooden shelf of file cabinets filled with alphabetically arranged cards, the card catalog is now online. Patrons can often use the card catalog from their home computer or a library computer. Many local public libraries also allow those with library cards to renew books online. If patrons are interested in books not available at their local public libraries, there is an inter-library loan system whereby one library can borrow a title they dont have from another library. In addition to books, local public libraries circulate books on tape, videos, DVDs, and music CDs. Local public libraries subscribe to a variety of magazines and newspapers. A comfortable reading area encourages people to relax and read current publications of interest to them. Most local public libraries keep current issues in the library and allow back issues to be checked out to be read at home.