An Interview with the Al-Haliri Family

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The Al-Haliri Family with their first Library cards!

What did you think about libraries before you came to the US?
The Library was only for students in University.

What were libraries like in Syria?
There were no Public libraries only universities have libraries.

What do you think about the Libraries here in the US?
They are very good places with friendly people.

Do you use the library? How?
Yes, we have library cards we get whatever we want and then check it out at the desk.

Who told you about the Library?
Cheryl Al-Sasah of AHOPE

When you went to the Library did you feel welcome there?
Yes, the Staff was very friendly, smiling and tried to talk to us about the library.

What kinds of resources do you think the library could offer that would be helpful for you as you are starting to live in America?
English classes would be good and more Wifi Hotspots, Many times we go but there are no Wifi available to check out.

What could the library do to make you feel more welcome?
More programs like the Summer one for kids*.

What kinds of programs would you like to go to at the library? (classes, speakers, cultural programs, children’s programs, etc. )
English classes for international people.

If the library offered Arabic books, movies, and CDS would you borrow them?
Yes, we would love to have arabic movies.

If the library offered you a chance to share syrian culture with others would you like to be given that opportunity?
Yes, we would love to do this.

What is the most important thing that you would like to learn about?
English is the most important thing we want to learn.



*The Summer Program the Refugee families referred to was not a program run by the library but rather a summer camp run by the The Brown Refugee Youth Tutoring and Enrichment (BRYTE).
BRYTE is an organization led by students that pairs Brown university undergraduate tutors with students in refugee families that have recently relocated to Providence from Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Bryte is run in collaboration with DORCAS, The swearer Center and the Providence Public School department. The camp was held at the Leviton Dual Language School in Providence. The families mistook this camp to be a library program, perhaps because the Providence Community library’s Mobile Library visited the Leviton Dual Language school this past summer as a part of their Summer in the Schoolyard program.

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Bilal Al-Sasah translating above questions with the Al-Haliri Family


Translation provided by Bilal Al-Sasah

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