Thursday 5

COLUMBIA STORY TIME, for ages 5-9, Latin American stories, games and more, 3 p.m., Howard County Central Library, 10375 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia. Free; registration required. 410-313-7880.

COLUMBIA CHESS PROGRAM, for all ages and skill levels, beginners welcome, 6-8 p.m. today and Aug. 19, East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. Free. 410-313-7700.

PARENTS GRIEF SUPPORT GROUP, for parents who are grieving the death of a child, 6:30-8 p.m. Thursdays, through Aug. 19, Hospice of Howard County, 5537 Twin Knolls Rd., Columbia. Free; registration required. 410-730-5072.

Friday 6

ELLICOTT CITY STORY TIME, for ages 4-7, traditional fairy tales with a twist, 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., tomorrow and Aug. 13, Miller Branch Library, 9421 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. Free; registration required. 410-313-1950.

COLUMBIA BASEBALL STORY TIME, for ages 5-8, stories from the ballpark and a snack, 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. Free; registration required. 410-313-7730.

COLUMBIA SKATING, sponsored by the Columbia Association, noon-3 p.m. and 7-10 p.m. Fridays through Aug. 20, Supreme Sports Club, 7080 Deepage Dr., Columbia. $6; members, free; roller skate rental, $2.50; in-line skate rental, $5. 410-381-3619.

Saturday 7

APPALACHIAN TRAIL HIKE, a 12-mile hike from Gathland State Park to Weverton Cliffs, bring lunch and water, sponsored by the Sierra Club, 8:30 a.m. car-pool departure from the Bagel Bin parking lot at Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, 10000 Route 40, Ellicott City. Free. 410-248-2974.

COLUMBIA BOOK DISCUSSION, "I Wish I Had a Red Dress" by Pearl Cleage, sponsored by the Black Fiction Book Club, 1 p.m., East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. Free; registration required. 410-313-7700.

ALS SUPPORT GROUP, an educational format for patients, family and friends of those with Lou Gehrig's disease, sponsored by the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association, 1 to 3 p.m., Adventist HealthCare, Shady Grove Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 9701 Medical Center Dr., Rockville. Free. 301-978-9855.

Sunday 8

BALTIMORE AQUARIUM PROGRAM, ages 5 and older, a guided tour of the marine mammal kitchen, play time with the dolphins and a trainer and more, 8:30-10:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 15, 22, 28 and 30, National Aquarium in Baltimore, Pier 3, 501 E. Pratt St., Baltimore. $58; ages 60 and older, $54; ages 5-11, $49; registration required. 410-576-3833 or www.aqua.org.

LAUREL NATURE STORY TIME, for ages 3 and 4, learn about spiders through stories, songs and more, an interactive program with live arachnids, 10:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-2 p.m., Patuxent Research Refuge, National Wildlife Visitor Center, off Powder Mill Rd., between Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 197, Laurel. Free; registration required. 301-497-5887.

Monday 9

COLUMBIA FOOD AND CONVERSATION, for seniors, "The Kitchen Table," a light gourmet dinner, 4:30-6 p.m., Mondays, East Columbia 50 Plus Center, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. $2.75; registration required. 410-313-7680.

BATTERED WOMEN SUPPORT GROUP, a drop-in program, 7 p.m. Mondays, Domestic Violence Center of Howard County, 8950 Route 108, Suite 116, Columbia. Free. 410-997-0304.

COOKSVILLE BOOK DISCUSSION, "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress: A Novel," by Dai Sijie, sponsored by the Contemporary Fiction Book Club, 7 p.m., Glenwood Branch Library, 2350 Route 97 (Roxbury Mills Road), Cooksville. Free; registration required. 410-313-5577.

COLUMBIA HOMESCHOOL MEETING, an informational meeting open to the public, sponsored by the Columbia Homeschool Community, 7:30-9 p.m., Howard County Central Library, 10375 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia. Free. 410-740-6688 or columbiahomeschool.org.

ELLICOTT CITY LANGUAGE PROGRAM, practice English skills with others for whom it is a second or third language, presented by the English Conversation Club, 7:45-8:45 p.m. Mondays, Miller Branch Library, 9421 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. Free; registration required. 410-313-1950.

Tuesday 10

ELKRIDGE KINDERGARTEN PROGRAM, for ages 4 and 5, stories and activities to help smooth the way through the first day of kindergarten, 11 a.m. Tuesday; 7 p.m. Wednesday, Elkridge Branch Library, 6540 Washington Blvd., Elkridge. Free; registration required. 410-313-5085.

STEVENSON NATURE STORY TIME, for ages 2 and older accompanied by an adult, nature stories told in a pondside setting, 1:15-2 p.m., Irvine Nature Center, 8400 Greenspring Ave., Stevenson. Children, $2; members, $1; adults, free; registration required. 410-484-2413.

COLUMBIA LIBRARY PUPPET SHOW, for children and adults, a performance of favorite folk tales, 2 and 3:30 p.m., East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. Free; registration required. 410-313-7730.

GRIEF SUPPORT GROUP, a program to help participants understand the grief process and what to expect after the death of a loved one, sponsored by Hospice of Howard County, 7-8 p.m., 5537 Twin Knolls Rd., Columbia. Free; registration required. 410-730-5072.

Wednesday 11

COMMUNITY KNITTING GROUP, a drop-in program, group will knit and crochet afghans, blankets, baby wear and more for local charities, hospitals and senior centers, sponsored by the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, Kiwanis-Wallas Recreation Center, 10481 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. Free. 410-313-7279.

COOKSVILLE TIE-DYE CLASS, for ages 11 and older, learn how to make a tie-dyed product; bring as many as four prewashed, 100 percent cotton items such as T-shirts, pillowcases or socks, 2-3:30 p.m., Glenwood Branch Library, 2350 Route 97 (Roxbury Mills Road), Cooksville. Free; registration required. 410-313-5577.

YOUNG ADULT ADVISORY BOARD, for ages 11-17, share your ideas on programs you would like to see at county libraries involving books, music and computer games; refreshments provided, 3-4 p.m., East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. Free; registration required. 410-313-7704.

CHILD CARE WORKSHOP, for parents and caregivers, "When Play Isn't Just Play," the value and meaning of play and how best to provide for opportunities for expressive play, sponsored by the Howard County Child Care Resource Center, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 3300 North Ridge Rd., Suite 380, Ellicott City. $20; registration required. 410-313-1940.

LAUREL CHESS CLUB, for ages 9-17, players of all abilities welcome, some basic knowledge required, 7-8:30 p.m., Savage Branch Library, Gorman and Knights Bridge roads, Laurel. Free. 410-880-5980.

CATONSVILLE SUPPORT GROUP, a national support group for working moms and at-home moms, sponsored by Mothers and More, Southwest Baltimore Chapter, 7 p.m. second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, Immanuel United Church of Christ, 1905 Edmondson Ave., Catonsville. Free. 410-455-0498.

Thursday 12

COOKSVILLE CHILDREN'S OLYMPICS ACTIVITIES, for ages 5-8, Olympics-style games and activities, decorate a gold medal to take home, 3 p.m., Glenwood Branch Library, 2350 Route 97 (Roxbury Mills Road), Cooksville. Free; registration required. 410-313-5579.

COLUMBIA FAIRY TALES PROGRAM, for ages 5-9, listen to fairy tales, songs, stories, and more, 3 p.m., Howard County Central Library, 10375 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia. Free; registration required. 410-313-7880.

COOKSVILLE CHESS CLUB, for ages 9-17, players of all skill levels welcome, some basic knowledge required, sponsored by the Howard County Chess Club, 5-7 p.m., Glenwood Branch Library, 2350 Route 97, (Roxbury Mills Road) Cooksville. Free. 410-313-5577.

-- Compiled by LINDA JAMES

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