Biography in the Lives of Youth: Culture, Society, and Information

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Research from psychology and sociology has demonstrated that biography is assuming a powerful role in the sociological and psychological well being of youth. Biographies present role models, and define acceptable behaviors, social expectations, and values. They also demonstrate what is rewarded in society and what is less valued. This book considers selection and programming issues important, but goes beyond that and seeks to relate biography for youth within the larger arena of scholarship and research in terms of its literary, social, and cultural impact and importance. Lukenbill's overall goal is to help librarians, teachers, and youth workers better understand the power of biography, and ways it can be used. The book contrasts the influences of our current celebrity-and-media-driven culture with the role librarians, teachers, and parents can play in the positive development of youth. The use of biography in the school is presented as a fundamental tool of instruction, emphasizing its important role as a vehicle for cultural and information literacy dissemination. The use of biography in the public library centers on its use in programming and its potential for promoting cultural literacy, positive self-identification and healthy recreation. Major topics covered by the book include: biography in life and in learning; biography as used both in school library media center, the public library, and the classroom; biography as literature; biography as contemporary commentary; biography for the very young; biography as it affects attitudes and behaviors; and biography as social dialogue. The book's approach is at once theoretical and practical