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Read Library Stories: Starting a new life chapter

Mohammed Alsaleh came to Canada as a refugee from Syria and in Vancouver discovered the library. “It’s a place that felt like home when I had no home,” he says.

His first card in Canada was a VPL library card. His first book borrowed was Arabic poetry, keeping him connected to his first language and his childhood home.

Mohammed Alsaleh came to Canada in late 2014 as a refugee from Syria, where he had been arrested at school, tortured and nearly killed. “Leaving the country was not an option – I had to,” says Alsaleh, 26, who had family and friends killed and his hometown destroyed in the war. “There are not enough words to describe how bad it is.”

In Vancouver he discovered the library – a place for books (some in Arabic as well), for learning and for support. “It’s a place that felt like home when I had no home,” he says. “It helped me cope and really helped me… to prosper in Canada.”

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