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Published: 1/21/2009

Libraries turn into forums to witness history

BY LAREN WEBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Scott and Sarah Coulter went to the main library downtown to watch the inauguration. 'It's something we should be celebrating together as a country,' Mrs. Coulter said. the blade/lisa dutton Main library visitors, above, were among about 200 who took part in viewing parties. Scott and Sarah Coulter went to the main library downtown to watch the inauguration. 'It's something we should be celebrating together as a country,' Mrs. Coulter said. the blade/lisa dutton Main library visitors, above, were among about 200 who took part in viewing parties.
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Rather than watch the inauguration of America's first African-American president at home, Scott and Sarah Coulter wanted to experience the historic event with fellow Toledoans.

The couple, along with about 30 other people, arrived at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library downtown about two hours before the ceremony to watch the news coverage leading up to the swearing-in of President Obama.

"I wanted to be here with people of the town. It's something we should be celebrating together as a country," Mrs. Coulter said.

Retired chemist Wayne Osborn, of Petersburg, Mich., also wanted to be surrounded by the excitement and emotion of swearing-in of a new President.

"I'm really proud to be an American again," Mr. Osborn said. "We're going to be the shining light in the world again."

Several people in the room became emotional as Mr. Obama took his oath of office.

"Some people were overcome," Mr. Osborn said. "There was a lot of excitement."

Mr. Osborn was among about 200 people who gathered in the Huntington room at the main library to view the inauguration on a projection screen.

An estimated 200 other people attended viewing parties at five other branch locations.

Rhonda Sewell, media relations coordinator for the library, said she watched the ceremony at the Mott Branch Library, 1085 Dorr St., where many people were appreciative of the opportunity to experience the event with neighbors.

"What is a more appropriate place than at your library to witness something like this?" Ms. Sewell said. "Our patrons will say, 'I remember when I watched the 44th presidential inauguration.' They'll know where they were, exactly what they were doing, and that they were at their library."

Jan Tucholski, who attended the event with her husband, Dennis, said she hopes the Obama Administration is able to lift the country out of the "rut we've gotten into the last several years."

"I think it's a wonderful leap forward for our country," said, Mrs. Tucholski, a retired teacher in Toledo Public Schools.

Sharon Orner said she took her two children, Kenny, 16, and Clara, 10, out of school yesterday so they could watch the inauguration together as a family.

She said she told her children's teachers after the November election that they would not be in school Jan. 20.

"This is life-changing for everybody, not just my family but for everyone's family," Ms. Orner said. "This is huge, absolutely huge."

Contact Laren Weber at:

lweber@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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