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.