A few Sundays ago I was hosting an event held in the Secret Room of the Central Library. As I watched people discover the room and come into the space, I was struck by the sense of awe and wonder that brightened each face. Each person had a story to tell. Many recalled exploring the Secret Room as a child, although the location was different at the time; just as many were seeing it for the first time; and everyone was eager to point out a favorite doll.
The George W. Cooper Doll collection is named in honor of the elementary school principal under whose leadership the dolls were collected. In 1934, through the Minister of Foreign Affairs, students and teachers at Theodore Roosevelt School #43 contacted the then-existing 69 countries of the world via some school or organization. The students offered to send each country a Shirley Temple doll from the United States in exchange for a doll dressed in the traditional clothing of that country. In 1940, the students and teachers of School #43 presented the collection of approximately 180 dolls to the Rochester Public Library. Since then, gifts from individual donors have brought the total number to over 200.
While there are many fine doll collections around, this one is notable for its cultural value and spirit of outreach. The next time your family visits the Central Library, take a few minutes to find the room and discover your favorite doll. Share your secret!
--- Carolyn Schuler
Brighton Memorial Library Stories for pre-K: Mondays 10 a.m.; for toddlers: Mondays 10:30 a.m.; for families: Thursdays 7 p.m. | Through Feb 25: Alice B. Wilson Literary Awards Contest, for Brighton residents grades 6-12. | 2300 Elmwood Ave, 784-5300
Carousel Animals Thurs, Feb 24. Bristol Library, 6750 County Rd #32, Canandaigua. 7 p.m. 229-5862
Draw & Discover Saturdays through Apr 16. Corning Museum of Glass, 11 a.m., 607-974-3306, www.cmog.org
Fiddlers Three Thurs, Feb 24. Barnes & Noble, 3349 Monroe Ave, 10 a.m. 586-6020
Great American Magic Show Mon, Feb 21. Brighton Library, 2300 Elmwood Ave, 11 a.m. Free. Register. 784-5300
Jungle Jog T-Shirt Design Contest through Feb 28. For kids up to 12 years old, theme: black bears. Mail to Seneca Park Zoo, 2222 St Paul St, 336-7213. www.senecaparkzoo.org
Juggling in the Library Sat, Feb 26. Arnett Branch Library, 310 Arnett Blvd. 2 p.m. 428-8350
PJ Storytime Fri, Feb 25. Barnes & Noble, 3349 Monroe Ave, 7 p.m. 586-6020
Pie Eating Contest Thurs, Feb 24. Adams St Community Ctr, 85 Adams St, ages 6-14. Register by Feb 22, 428-7266
Pre-School Storytime Tuesdays 11-11:30 a.m., Wednesdays 10:15-10:45 a.m. Henrietta Public Library, 455 Calkins Rd. Ages 3 and 4. 359-7092, www.hpl.org
Reptile Show with the Reptile Guys Wed, Feb 23. Henrietta Public Library, 455 Calkins Rd, 10:30-11:30 a.m. 359-7092
Seneca Park Zoo Wednesdays, book and beast, 11 a.m. Hours: daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $5, $4 seniors, $2 kids, 2222 St Paul St. 467-9453, www.senecazoo.org
Seussical the Musical Storytime Wed, Feb 23. Barnes & Noble, 330 Greece Ridge Center Dr, 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Free. 227-4020
Storytime and Craft with Ann-Marie The Magic Rabbit, Wed, Feb 23. Barnes & Noble, 3349 Monroe Ave, 9:30 and 11 a.m. 586-6020
Swimming Lessons through June 4. Tuesdays and Thursdays 5-8 p.m., Saturdays 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Freddie Thomas Learning Center, 625 Scio St; Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 5-8 p.m., James Madison School, 200 Genesee St. 428-7888
Tuesdays for Tots Tues, Mar 1. Sing along with the Boomerang Club. Strong Museum, One Manhattan Square. 9:30 a.m. 263-2701 ext 314, www.strongmuseum.org
Tutoring Program through Sat, Mar 12 (except Feb 21-26). Ages 6-18. Monroe Junior High School, 164 Alexander St (Saturdays, 9:15-11:15 a.m.); Frederick Douglass School, 940 Fernwood (Saturdays, 9:15-11:15 a.m.); Adams Street Comm Center, 85 Adams St (Tues and Thurs, 3:30-5 p.m.); North Street Comm Center, 700 North St (Tues and Thurs, 3:30-5 p.m.) Free. Info: 428-7888
Willow GirlbyCatskill Puppet Theater. Thurs, Feb 24. TYKEs, UpStage3 Theater, 875 East Main Street, 1 p.m. $8. 723-6080
Winter Break Camp through Feb 25. Seneca Park Zoo, 2222 St. Paul St, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. or 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 336-7213, www.senecazoo.org
Winter Art Camp for Kids through Feb 25. Ages 6-14, Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, 205 Genesee St, Auburn, 9:30-11:30 a.m. $12-$15 per class. Register. 315-255-1553, www.cayuganet.org/smac
Young School of Irish Dance Hoolie Sun, Feb 27. Irish dance, karate, raffles, pasta dinner. Rochester Moose Lodge, 1000 Thomas Ave. Tix: $5-$10.
The Urban Choice Charter School will open its doors in September. It's a new city school, certified by the Board of Regents, and will begin as K-4, expanding to K-8 in five years. At that time, the school plans to apply to have its charter extended to K-12.
Education Coordinator John Bliss says the school will be about inspiration. "The best way to get kids to clear the bar is to motivate them to jump over it," says Bliss.
The school will use differentiated instruction to reach all students. This means presenting information in a variety of ways and providing support to the children.
The teachers will also be supported, often with several adults in each classroom. The school has arrangements with SUNY Geneseo and The Center for Child Health Research at the University of Rochester to bring in student teachers and young pediatricians as well.
The school is not using any pre-packaged curricula, and is not part of any national reform effort. It is a local, grassroots group with more than 60 years experience working in city schools.
The school day will be extended: From 3 to 4:30 p.m. students will choose end-of-day activities. There will also be an emphasis on health and recreation, with daily recreation time in addition to gym classes.
Students will be chosen by lottery, with siblings and city residents given preference.
Information meetings will be held Monday, February 28, and Wednesday, March 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Winton Branch Library, 611 North Winton Road.
The application process ends March 16. Call 288-5702 or visit www.urbanchoicecharter.org for more information.
--- Lynn Malooly