Thursday 13

WOMEN'S VOICES BOOK GROUP, discussion of "One Thousand White Women," by Jim Fergus, 7 p.m., East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. Free; registration required. 410-313-7700.

NATIONAL MIRTH MONTH CELEBRATION, for ages 6-9, share jokes, riddles, funny stories and make a craft, 4 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Friday, East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. Free; registration required. 410-313-7730.

Friday 14

LEMONY SNICKET STORY TIME, for ages 8 and older, stories, trivia, activities based on the series of books by Lemony Snicket, plus a craft, 2 p.m., Central Branch Library, 10375 Little Patuxent Pkwy., at South Entrance Road, Columbia. 410-313-7880.

Saturday 15

BABY-SITTING CLASS, for ages 11-14, learn first aid, emergency procedures, age-appropriate activities and other baby-sitting skills. Participants will receive a certificate of attendance, sponsored by the Columbia Association Teen Center, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., the Barn, Oakland Mills Village Center, 5800 Robert Oliver Pl., Columbia. $40, Columbia residents; $48, others; registration required. 410-992-3726.

PENNSYLVANIA FOREST HIKE, a seven-mile trek at Chimney Rocks in Michaux Forest, through areas of hemlocks along Tumbling Run, with views of Waynesboro Reservoir and surrounding ridges. Bring lunch and water. Sponsored by the Sierra Club, Howard County Group. Carpool departure 8 a.m. from West Friendship Park-and-Ride lot, 1/4 mile north of Route 70, west side of Route 32, West Friendship. Free. 410-439-4964.

BALTIMORE THEATER AUDITIONS, for professional adult actors and children ages 7-15 for a production of "Rapunzel," produced by Baltimore Children's Theatre, 2-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Westchester Center, 2414 Westchester Ave., Oella. Free. 410-203-1757.

WOODSTOCK SEEDLING TALK, master gardeners Jo Ann Russo and Liz Stoffel will discuss how to start spring plants from seed and raise them to healthy seedlings, sponsored by Maryland Cooperative Extension, 10 a.m.-noon, Howard County Conservancy, Mount Pleasant, 10520 Old Frederick Rd., Woodstock. 410-465-8877.

MENTAL THERAPY FOR PETS, bring a pet for holistic healing, calming or relaxing treatment, given by a practitioner of reiki, an Asian form of healing arts, 8-10 a.m. the first and third Saturdays of each month, East Columbia 50-Plus Center, 6000 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. $20; registration required. 410-313-7680.

Sunday 16

PHILOSOPHY BOOK GROUP, discussion of "Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge," by Edward O. Wilson, 4 p.m., Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 4300 Montgomery Rd., Ellicott City. 410-203-9001.

Monday 17

DRUG-FREE WORKSHOP, for parents, learn how to help middle school students avoid alcohol problems and drug abuse, led by Selvy Eikenberg of the Howard County Health Department's "Not My Kid" program; plus light refreshments, 7 p.m. Sunday and March 31, April 7 and 28, and May 12, East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. Free. 410-313-7700.

BALTIMORE SAILORS CLUB MEETING, for beginning, experienced and retired sailors 50 and older, discussion of the club's 2003 schedule. Members meet monthly during the sailing season for day sailing in Sonars or overnight in yachts, sponsored by the Silver Sailors Club, 5 p.m., Simon's Pub & Eatery, 2031 E. Fairmont Ave., Baltimore. Free. 410-997-2575.

JEWISH COOKING AUTHOR TALK, Gloria Kaufer Greene discusses her book "The New Jewish Holiday Cookbook" and tells stories from her interviews with international Jewish cooks, at a meeting of the National Council of Jewish Women, 7:45 p.m., Kahler Hall, 5440 Old Tucker Row, Columbia. Free. 410-465-5567.

IRISH STORY TIME, for ages 6 and older, Irish tales, dancing and a craft. Participants encouraged to wear green, 4:30 and 7 p.m., Miller Branch Library, 9421 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. Free. 410-313-1950.

Tuesday 18

STEVENSON NATURE STORY TIME, for ages 7 and younger, tales about animals and other nature-related topics presented by staff and volunteers, 2-2:45 p.m., Irvine Nature Center, 8400 Greenspring Ave., Stevenson. Free. 410-484-2413.

SENIORS PIANO MUSIC, popular songs performed by Michael Suratt, followed by lunch, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Florence Bain Senior Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia. Free; lunch donation, $2; registration required. 410-313-7213.

LAUREL BIRD TOUR, for ages 16 and older, look for and identify birds in several refuge habitats on a guided tour with short walks. Field guides and binoculars recommended, 8:15-10:30 a.m., Patuxent Research Refuge, North Tract, Route 198, between Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 32, Laurel. Free; registration required. 301-497-5887.

NEW-PARENTS SUPPORT GROUP, for first-time parents and their babies, chat with other new parents, sponsored by the Wilde Lake Community Association, 10-11:30 a.m. Tuesdays, Slayton House, Wilde Lake Village Green, 10451 Twin Rivers Rd., Columbia. Donation requested; registration required. 410-730-3987.

ELLICOTT CITY BOARD GAMES, for ages 11-17, play board games, including Jenga, Scrabble, Life, Yahtzee, Catch Phrase and checkers, or bring a favorite, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Miller Branch Library, 9421 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. Free. 410-313-1950.

PARENT-CHILD BOOK DISCUSSIONS, for children ages 9-12 accompanied by an adult; for ages 9-12, "Coraline," by Neil Gaiman, 7-8 p.m., East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, 410-313-7700, and "The School Story," by Andrew Clements, 7-8 p.m., Glenwood Branch Library, 2350 Route 97 (Roxbury Mills Road), Glenwood, 410-313-5577; for ages 10-13, "Skeleton Man," by Joseph Bruchac, 7-8:30 p.m., and for ages 7-9, "Third Grade Pet," by Judy Cox, 7-8 p.m., Elkridge Branch Library, 6540 Washington Blvd., Elkridge, 410-313-5085. Free; registration required.

Wednesday 19

SENIORS MEDICARE WORKSHOP, "Medicare: An Open Forum," a discussion about how Medicare works and how it relates to supplemental health insurance, presented by representatives from the Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program of the Howard County Office on Aging, 1 p.m., Ellicott City Senior Center, 9401 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. Free; registration required. 410-313-2715.

GENEALOGY RESOURCES TALK, learn about vital records, databases and other resources available at the library and on the Internet, 11 a.m., Glenwood Branch Library, 2350 Route 97 (Roxbury Mills Road), Glenwood. Free; registration required. 410-313-5577.

COLUMBIA SEMINAR, "Become Debt Free in 2003," learn how to invest today to help pay off house, car, credit cards or high interest rates and to fund your child's education without debt, sponsored by the Town Center Community Association, 7-9 p.m., Historic Oakland Manor, 5430 Vantage Point Rd., Columbia. Free. 410-730-4744.

BREAST-FEEDING DISCUSSION, for pregnant women, mothers, infants and toddlers, "Challenges to Breastfeeding," a talk sponsored by La Leche League of Columbia, 7 p.m., Howard County Public Safety Complex, behind Cherry Tree Shopping Center, 11226 Scaggsville Rd., Scaggsville. Free. 443-857-3738.

BRAIN INJURY SUPPORT GROUP, for people with brain injuries, their families and friends, facilitated by a clinician, sponsored by Humanim, a private nonprofit organization that provides residential, vocational, clinical and case management services to people with disabilities, 5:30 p.m., Humanim, 6355 Woodside Ct., Columbia. Free. 443-463-3614.

Thursday 20

LIBRARY CHESS CLUB, for players of all levels with a basic understanding of the game; a lecture and games for ages 9-17, 5-7 p.m.; open play for all ages, 7-9 p.m., Glenwood Branch Library, 2350 Route 97 (Roxbury Mills Road), Glenwood. Free. 410-313-5577.

ELLICOTT CITY BOOK GROUP, discussion of "Founding Brothers," by Joseph Ellis, noon, Miller Branch Library, 9421 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. Free; registration required. 410-313-1950.

COLUMBIA KIDS SNOW PARTY, for teenagers and their younger siblings, face painting, a disc jockey, prizes, arts and crafts, and food, including pizza, sponsored by the Columbia Association Teen Center, 4-6 p.m., Oakland Mills Village Center, snack bar at the Barn, 5800 Robert Oliver Pl., Columbia. Free. 410-992-3726.

-- Compiled by Linda James

Items are accepted on a space-available basis from public and nonprofit organizations only and must be received at least 14 days before the Thursday publication date. Submit information to Community Events, The Washington Post, 10490 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Suite 650, Columbia, Md. 21044. Include event name, dates, times, exact address, prices and a publishable contact phone number.