It seems unlikely that the first private library in the country is also one of its liveliest. But the Charleston Library Society, founded in 1748 to keep Charlestonians informed of recent publications from London, has achieved that feat. It now hosts jazz and classical music, after-school programs and story time for children, and presentations by national authors (Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Stephen Kurkjian visits on March 8). The light-filled space is home to fascinating artifacts and well-aged books, many of which can be checked out by members.
164 King St., (843) 723-9912, www.charlestonlibrarysociety.org