Book Chapter or Section
Images of librarians in popular culture include the traditional stereotype - of a mousy spinster who cares more for protecting books than for helping people - as well as several contrasting or binary images - such as librarians who are wild by night (although quiet by day), know-it-alls (rather than know-nothings), or high-tech (instead of old-fashioned.) In response to the anxiety provoked by the more pernicious aspects of these images, both librarians and the public may employ a variety of common unconscious defense mechanisms. This chapter examines some of those used by the public - including stereotyping, and splitting or binary thinking, themselves - as well as others - such as reaction formation and over-identification - used by librarians. By making these conscious, and substituting them with more effective coping mechanisms, librarians can improve their self-image, as well as their public image, advancing their psychological and work lives, as well as the support and use of libraries by the public.
Posner, Beth, "The Use of Psychological Defense Mechanisms – By Librarians and the Public – in Response to Traditional and Binary Librarian Stereotypes", in The Psychology of Librarianship, Editors: H. Stephen Wright, Lynn Gullickson Spencer, and Leanne VandeCreek, Library Juice Press, 2015.