March 30, 2009
Cataloging the Librarian
I recently went to a workshop with SI Career Services called Cataloging the Librarian. They provided information on the Myers-Briggs Typology Indicator and facilitate a discussion about how the various library career paths and related skills and preferences fit with different personality types. The test can be taken here http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp. If you've never taken the Briggs-Myer test it's basically just a series of questions used to gauge where you lie on the 4 Briggs Myer type indicators. The MBTI sorts some of these psychological opposites into four opposite pairs, or dichotomies, with a resulting sixteen possible combinations.
None of these combinations is 'better' or 'worse', however Briggs and Myers recognized that everyone has an overall combination which is most comfortable for them: in the same way as writing with the left hand is hard work for a right-hander, so people tend to find using their opposite psychological preference more difficult, even if they can become more proficient with practice and development.
I for example am an ESTP which is Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking, and Perceiving. I've never really thought of myself as an extroverted person but extroverted doesn't necessarily mean outgoing and the life of the party, it could also just mean you're comfortable around people and prefer working in groups, which is definitely true of me and I feel a good preference to have for someone who wants to work with people in a public library like myself. I feel I am definitely a Sensing (S) person as opposed to Intuition (N). S types are described as practical, conservative, dependable, precise, and methodical. N types are oriented towards the future, like to exercise creativity, tend towards independence, and inclined to see the overall picture. Librarians overall I think tend to be more precise and methodical. T/F indicates Thinking or Feeling, they show how one comes to conclusions or making decisions, Ts believe it is more important to be right than be liked, Fs like harmony more than clarity. I'm not really sure I'm too strongly a T (although who doesn't like being right), but I do agree that it is important to get things done right even if it causes a disruption in harmony. The last type indicator, J/P or Judging/Perceiving, demonstrates how one deals with the outer world J orders one’s life; and is described as industrious and painstaking. P is more spontaneous, adaptable, and prefers to collect information and stay open to new options. I am strongly P and most librarians are a J, I often make last minute decisions and adapt pretty easily to new situations, which I think is another good quality for a public librarian. Public librarians deal with various situations everyday and it's important to be able to adapt.
"As people use their preferred function more, they tend to be much more practiced and comfortable with its use. This can be compared to an athlete: a person cannot have an innate ability to play a particular sport. A person who enjoys that sport, and practices constantly to improve in that sport, will most likely become good at that sport.
Similarly, a person who has a clear preference for thinking or feeling will tend to become better at that particular function, simply because they practice it more."
Posted by ansh at March 30, 2009 06:24 PM