This post is part of "The Story Behind Hazleton," a senior project completed by Paige Onder, an Immanuel Christian School graduate from the class of 2023.
Today, we are a part of a world where within a matter of seconds we have access to all the information we could ever need to know. This sounds like a dream, and many of us use this to our advantage as we go about our daily lives. However, when we examine this “dream” a bit closer, some of the cons of less communication with each other and lack of physical books begin to shed light. Christian is currently the Head of Reference and Branch Liaison at the Hazleton Public Library and was previously a social worker. Through both of his jobs, he has and continues to demonstrate the importance of personal communication with one another.
Christian originally went to school to be a social worker. During his time in college he worked part time at the library as a clerk. Following his graduation, he worked at Catholic Social Services for a few years where he worked in a group home for young adults with mental health diagnoses. During his time there, he taught life skills such as budgeting, how to apply for jobs, cleaning, etc. He did this for about two years before returning to the library.
Some things that Christian does as his job day to day includes communicating with other branches and assisting them in whatever they need, as well working with the general public answering questions and hosting a number of events. Christian enjoys his job and the people he has gotten to meet through it and hopes to continue there.
One memorable story that Christian mentioned was, “One time there was a gentleman who came in early in the morning. I was sitting at the front desk at the time and greeted him like I would anyone else. The gentleman had a boombox and was blasting music in the bathroom. After asking him to turn it down he decided to come out of the bathroom and by sheer coincidence there was a young class touring the library. He then proceeded to go up to each child and say ‘God Bless You!’ to all of them.” This is one of the many stories he was able to retell, laughing about how each experience you have comes with a story to tell.
Some things Christian enjoys doing when he isn’t working includes hiking, reading, watching true crime and horror movies, spending time with his cat, Lucky, and playing old school Nintendo games. However, he also enjoys music and would like to learn how to play an instrument in the future.
Christian has lived in Hazleton his whole life. He went to Marian Catholic for high school and graduated from Penn State Hazleton with his bachelors. Although he has spent the majority of his life here, he says that the benefits that come with that outweigh the cons. One specific benefit he talked about was, “Being in a small community is nice because you get to know a lot of people you live in the same town as and get to network with them.” He also added, “It is easier to get to know people and plan events for the library which is something I like.”
One thing that is notable about Christian from the time you meet him is that he is helpful and always prepared to assist people in whatever way possible, all while looking to be positive. One message that he continues to stand for is the importance of mental health awareness and individuals seeking counseling.
While many of us will go on with our lives and use the assistance our technology provides us with, people like Christian can remind us to pause and use the contacts we have in real life instead. Sometimes the best advice we can get will come from others, not our cell phone.