Quietly Making Her Point

She's a self-described introvert, so it was only fitting that she wasn't mentioned until near the end of the article–several paragraphs after the discussions about Hollywood portrayals of librarians and how librarians score on Myers-Briggs personality inventories and why extroversion is considered the "ideal" personality in Western society. But Jill Strand finally got the attention she deserves, as Jennifer Bartlett cited her most recent "Market Share" column in Information Outlook and highlighted its networking tips for introverts.

Writing in Vol. 26/2 of Library Leadership & Management, Bartlett noted that studies of personality assessments show that a strong majority of librarians are introverted, thinking and judging. These characteristics are reflected in movie portrayals of fictional librarians (such as Marian Paroo in The Music Man), which show "positive" librarians as helpful and idealistic and "negative" librarians as manipulative and extroverted. While introverts have strengths in areas such as customer service, they typically are not natural leaders and managers, whereas extroversion is seen as a leadership quality.

Another challenge for introverts, Bartlett wrote, is networking. Bartlett pointed her readers to Strand's March/April column in Information Outlook, which posed four questions to SLA members and highlighted the most useful answers. The column also advised librarians to think of networking as a series of small steps rather than one large process, thus making it seem less daunting.

"I'm an introvert, and there are still times when walking into a room full of people I don't know scares the stuffing out of me," Strand wrote. "But the more I do it, the easier it gets (and the more people I get to know)."

Strand has overcome her introversion to the point that she has chaired SLA's Public Relations Advisory Council and served as president of the Minnesota Chapter. She started writing the "Market Share" column in June 2011. To read her latest column, click here.


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