An Interview with the Al-Namess Family


The Al-Namess Family with Congressman David Cicilline

What did you think about libraries before you came to the US?

There are no public libraries in Syria so we didn’t think about going to them.

What were libraries like in Syria?

The libraries were only for universities for students to use.

What do you think about the Libraries here in the US?

They are very nice and have many services.

Do you use the library? How?

Yes, We use it to get books, videos and the summer programs* this past year were very good.

Who told you about the Library?

Cheryl Al-Sasah from AHOPE.

When you went to the Library did you feel welcome there?

Yes, Very much so.

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?

We would like more programs for learning English.

What could the library do to make you feel more welcome?

More computers and programs like the summer one*.

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

English classes specifically for the children would be helpful.

If the library offered Arabic books, movies, and CDS would you borrow them?

Yes, we would.

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 that.

What is the most important thing that you would like to learn about?

The thing we want to learn most is english, how to communicate with Americans.

*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.

Translations provided by Bilal Al-Sasah.


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