The Charleston County Public Library will offer the following free programs.

Charleston and the Islands

MAIN LIBRARY, 68 Calhoun St., downtown: 805-6930.

Saul Alexander Gallery Art Exhibit: Through Feb. 28. Andrea Hazel exhibits a series of watercolor paintings titled Uptown in Downtown Charleston. Hazel's paintings focus on the neighborhood people as well as the corner stores and small businesses that are disappearing from the downtown Charleston of her childhood. They reflect her love for her hometown, not just the touristy historic districts so often depicted in local art, but the streets where locals live and hang out.

Lunch Pails and Tales (all ages): Noon Feb. 9. Have a picnic in the library. Bring your lunch to enjoy and share a variety of award-winning picture book stories suitable for the whole family.

VITA Tax Assistance: Tuesdays, Feb. 10, 17 and 24, 9:30 a.m.-noon. Thursdays, Feb. 12, 19 and 26, 9:30 a.m.-noon. Saturdays, Feb. 21 and 28, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program will assist people with low-to-moderate income with their tax returns for free. First come, first served.

Teen Lounge: Feb. 11, 18, 25, 3:30-5 p.m. Join group after school to do homework, play games, hang out with your friends and enjoy free snacks.

You Wouldn't Want to … Series (ages 6-11): Thursdays, Feb. 5, 12 and 19 at 3:30 p.m. Based on the popular book series, children are invited to come explore a different time and life through stories, games, crafts and more. "You wouldn't want to … be a pirate's prisoner" (Feb. 5), "... be at the Boston Tea Party" (Feb. 12) or "... live in Pompeii" (Feb. 19).

Film: "Percy Julian: Forgotten Genius." Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. The grandson of Alabama slaves, Percy Julian broke the color barrier in American science more than a decade before Jackie Robinson did in baseball. In this film, NOVA brings Julian's scientific breakthroughs and gripping biography to life, with period re-enactments based on newly opened family archives and interviews with dozens of colleagues and relatives.

Lowcountry Blues Bash: Donald Ray Johnson & Maurice John Vaughn-B.J. Emery Band. Feb. 6, noon-1 p.m. Donald Ray Johnson, award-winning singing drummer, joins Maurice John Vaughn-B.J. Emery Band, a veteran quartet mixing classic Windy City blues, soul and a dose of South Side funk.

Lowcountry Blues Bash: Beverly Guitar Watkins. Feb. 6, 2-3 p.m. This rockin' blues lady worked with Piano Red (Dr. Feelgood) in the '60s and is still playing low-down, hard stompin' blues.

Chopstix: Project Art (ages 6-11): Fridays, Feb. 6, 13 and 20, 3-5 p.m. Explore your creative side with our box of craft supplies. See what masterpiece you can create while listening to some favorite kid tuned.

African-American Read-In Celebration (all ages): Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. Group will celebrate African-American literature with a selection of special stories.

Lowcountry Blues Bash: Andrew "Jr. Boy" Jones. Feb. 9, noon-1 p.m. Listen to the distinctive guitar playing and powerful singing of this Lone Star guitar slinger who studied under Freddy King and led Charlie Musselwhite's band.

Lowcountry Blues Bash: Liz Mandeville. Feb. 9, 2-3 p.m. This saucy singer/guitarist and band can whip a crowd into a frenzy.

Let's Talk About It Series: Jewish Literature. Feb. 9 at 3:30 p.m. Join group for the third of a five-part reading, lecture and discussion program. This week group will discuss Neighbors by Jan T. Gross with scholar Nan Morrison, Ph.D. Books may be checked out at the Fiction Desk at the Main Library or by calling Sara Breibart at 805-6804.

Lowcountry Blues Bash: Cotton Blue Band. Feb. 10, noon-1 p.m. Join Gator Rob and Detroit Debbie for some swampy blues and rock.

Lowcountry Blues Bash: Jeff Norwood. Feb. 10, 2-3 p.m. This blues bard travels far and wide with his guitar and stompbox.

Independent Lens Community Cinema: "Arusi Persian Wedding." Feb. 10 at 6:30 p.m. Iranian American filmmaker Marjan Tehrani chronicles her brother's return to Iran during the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, as he travels with his American wife to have a traditional Persian wedding and explore his lost heritage. In weaving the couple's personal story with historical footage, Arusi considers the history, impact and troubled relationship between Iran and America.

Fiction Writing Group: Feb. 10, 7-8:45 p.m. Designed to help fiction writers at all levels, from beginning to professional, this monthly workshop series will allow for introspection and work on individual projects as well as a chance to learn about the many techniques of story. The time will be split between instruction, interactive exercises and questions and answers. Sponsored by the Charleston County Public Library, the Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts and the Friends of the Library. For more information, call 805-6930.

Small Business Counseling with SCORE (adults): Feb. 11 and 25, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Get free, confidential counseling for your start-up idea or existing business from the Charleston Coastal chapter of SCORE.

Lowcountry Blues Bash: Paul Geremia. Feb. 11, noon-1 p.m. This legendary acoustic guitarist/singer has been plying his trade since the 1960s.

Lowcountry Blues Bash: Nature Boy Nik. Feb. 11, 2-3 p.m. Join group for acoustic blues guitar and vocals from a local mainstay.

Great Books Discussion: Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. "Hairball" by Margaret Atwood. Books may be picked up at the Fiction Desk of the Main Library or by calling Sara Breibart at 805-6804.

Lowcountry Blues Bash: The Nouveaux Honkies. Feb. 12, noon-1 p.m. This innovative and entertaining roots music band puts on an infectious show reminiscent of a time when rock was on its first date with roll.

Lowcountry Blues Bash: Pete Ledbetter: Feb. 12, 2-3 p.m. Join group for stories, songs and some acoustic folk blues.

Networking Night for Entrepreneurs (adults): Feb. 12, 6-7:30 p.m. Need to grow your network? Join group for monthly networking event. Bring your business cards and your best elevator speech.

Lowcountry Blues Bash: Michael Pickett. Feb. 13, noon- 1 p.m. Listen to critically applauded, distinctive acoustic blues.

Met Opera at the Library: "Orfeo ed Euridice." Feb. 14 at 1:30 p.m. Mark Morris's acclaimed production returns. This opera features Stephanie Blythe in the title role. Danielle de Niese is Orfeo's adored wife, Euridice, who inspires the hero to face the underworld for her sake. Conducted by Music Director James Levine. The auditorium will be open 1.5 hours prior to performance and seats may be secured.

Valentine's Day Party at the Library (all ages): Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. Join us for a special Valentine's Day Party filled with stories, games, crafts and a special Valentine treat.

Lecture and Book Signing: Damon L. Fordham. Feb. 14, 2 3:30 p.m. The Charleston County Public Library will host an afternoon with local historian Damon L. Fordham, author of the recently published "Voices of Black South Carolina: Legends & Legacy." Fordham will discuss and sign copies of his new book, which relates the stories of notable black South Carolinians, many of whose contributions to the state's history have not been brought to light until recently.

JOHN L. DART BRANCH LIBRARY, 1067 King St.: 722-7550

African-American History Daily Trivia (ages 8-17): Through Feb. 28. Answer daily questions about African-American history correctly and win a sweet treat.

African-American History Art Contest: Through Feb. 28. Create an art piece that reflects the past, present and future of African-American history. It can cover any part of African-American culture. Entries submitted must be at least 8.5 inches by 11 inches. Winners will be chosen from two age groups: elementary level and middle/high school level. The winner from each age group will be displayed in the library in March. Prizes will be awarded.

VITA Tax Assistance: Fridays, Feb. 6, 13, 20 and 27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Volunteers from Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program will assist people with low-to-moderate income with their tax returns for free.

African-American Literature Trivia (ages 15 and up): Feb. 9-14. In observance of the 2009 African-American Read-In, join the Dart staff in celebrating good books. Use the daily clues to identify the books written by traditional and contemporary African-American authors and win a prize to bookmark your accomplishment.

History and Me: "A Not So Basic Guide to Advanced African-American Genealogy." Feb. 11 at 6:30 p.m. Join Dr. Nic Butler of the Charleston Archives for an hour-long journey through United States, South Carolina and Charleston history with an African-American perspective to find those elusive ancestors in uncommon resources.

Valentine's Day Craft (ages 5-12): Feb. 12 at 3:30 p.m. Make a sweet craft for your sweetie.

JAMES ISLAND BRANCH LIBRARY, 1248 Camp Road: 795-6679

President's Day Writing Contest (grades 6-12): Through Feb. 17. Who is your favorite president and why? In one page or less, describe the qualities that you admire about him to be eligible to win a prize. There will be one winner chosen from the middle school level and one winner from the high school level.

Teen Movie Night: "The Dark Knight" (ages 13 and up). Feb. 13 at 6 p.m. Batman continues his seemingly endless effort to bring justice to Gotham's crime syndicate. This time the Dark Knight faces a rising psychopathic criminal called the Joker, whose eerie grin hides a dangerous agenda. Rated PG-13; 153 minutes.

JOHNS ISLAND REGIONAL LIBRARY, 3531 Maybank Highway: 559-1945

Black History Month (all ages): Through Feb. 28. Celebrate Black History Month at the library. There will be a display of library materials along with coloring, activity and puzzle sheets.

Art Display: Through Feb. 28. Johns Island resident Antoni Jenkins will display his paintings capturing basketball players in action. Jenkins, a 2008 graduate of the School of the Arts, is majoring in sport administration at Coastal Carolina University.

Jewelry Display: Through Feb. 28. Johns Island resident Betty Deaton will display her one-of-a-kind sterling silver and silver-plated jewelry.

English: See It and Speak It! (adults): Wednesdays, Feb. 11 and 18, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Do you speak Spanish but need help learning English for day-to-day living? Learn to speak conversational English in a fun and informal way.

Oh Baby! (3 years and younger with an adult): Thursdays, Feb. 5, 12, 19 and 26 at 4 p.m.

Knitting Group (adults): Thursdays, Feb. 5 and 19, 6- 7:30 p.m. Enjoy the company of other adult knitters. Meet to exchange ideas. Bring your projects and knit with friends. Open to knitters of all skill levels.

AARP Free Income Tax Assistance: Saturdays, Feb. 7, 14, 21 and 28, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. First come, first served with the last person accepted at 1:30 p.m. Assistance in Spanish/Espanol will be available.

Club Anime! (ages 12-19): Feb. 10, 4-5:30 p.m. It's book talk time again. Group will discuss "Shugo Chara," "Ranma 1/2" and other favorite titles. Group will watch episodes of "Ouran High School Host Club" as well. The trivia contest winner also will be announced.

Wired (grades 6-12): Wednesdays, Feb. 11, 18 and 25, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Teens get wired-up for fun and games at the library. Enjoy board games, card games, video games and more on Wednesdays.