How Do Tweens Seek Information?

Have you ever wondered if your tweens have a method for seeking information or if they make random, impulse decisions, and more or less chase squirrels?

I spent an entire semester last year researching information seeking behavior, and in particular, tween information seeking behavior. When I use the phrase "information needs" or "information seeking behavior," I am referring to the search a tween undergoes to access information: a funny cat video on YouTube, a book about the Civil War for a school project, a favorite fictional book, information on how to build a treehouse, or any other myriad of information queries you could imagine! Tweens are as varied in personality and habits as adults. Therefore, what I share with you today cannot necessarily be applied to every single tween; however, I hope it gives you insight into some general observations about the approach this age group takes when attempting to satisfy information needs.

1. Tweens face a plethora of barriers when seeking information

Some of these include: cognitive development, privacy concerns, knowledge of search strategies, and level of discernment. All these barriers are age related and can only be improved by growth and experience. This is why: 

2. Tweens almost always have a more satisfying information seeking experience if they seek the information from or in conjunction with another person.


3. More often than not, tweens seek information from one another.

(No chance of that going wrong, right?)

4. Socialization often spawns information seeking

Two boys decide to see how many marshmallows they can fit in their mouth at one time, which leads them to discover the world's record for number of marshmallows stuffed into someone's mouth...


5. The presence of an adult authority figure in an information search with a tween has been found to have positive correlations with increased self-esteem.

So how can we apply this in our work with tweens? Reach out to your tweens and find out what kind of information they are seeking. Remember, tweens will often seek each other out first, before coming to an adult authority figure for help; however, their self-esteem will likely be higher if you are there helping them! When tweens do come to you for help, don't just find the answer, teach the process and let the tweens be involved! Explain your rationale for why you search a certain way and trust specific resources, while taking others with a grain of salt. Most importantly, treat your tweens with the same dignity and respect you would to any adult.

We would love to hear from you! What behaviors have you observed in your tweens as they seek the information they crave?


To Learn More, Check Out Any of These Fabulous Resources:

Anderson, T. D. (2013). Tweens and their in-betweens: giving voice to young people when exploring emerging information practices associated with smart devices. Information Research, 18(1), 1-11.
Bowler, L. (2010). Talk as a metacognitive strategy during the information search process of adolescents. Information Research, 15(4), 13.
Burley, D. (2010). Penguin Life: A Case Study of One Tween's Experiences inside Club Penguin. Journal Of Virtual Worlds Research, 3(2), 3-13.
Crow, S. R. (2015). The Information-Seeking Behavior of Intrinsically Motivated Elementary School Children of a Collectivist Culture. School Library Research, 181-31.
Dresang, E. T. (2005). The information-seeking behavior of youth in the digital environment. Library Trends, 54(2), 178-196.
Fields, D., & Kafai, Y. (2009). A connective ethnography of peer knowledge sharing and diffusion in a tween virtual world. International Journal Of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 4(1), 47-68. doi:10.1007/s11412-008-9057-1
Fisher, K., & Durrance, J. (2003). Information communities. In K. Christensen, & D. Levinson (Eds.), Encyclopedia of community: From the village to the virtual world. (pp. 658-661). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. Retrieved from
Fitneva, S. A., Lam, N. L., & Dunfield, K. A. (2013). The development of children's information gathering: To look or to ask?. Developmental Psychology, 49(3), 533-542. doi:10.1037/a0031326
Foss, E., Druin, A., Brewer, R., Lo, P., Sanchez, L., Golub, E., & Hutchinson, H. (2012). Children's search roles at home: Implications for designers, researchers, educators, and parents. Journal Of The American Society For Information Science & Technology, 63(3), 558-573. doi: 10.1002/asi.21700
Gossen, T., & Nürnberger, A. (2013). Specifics of information retrieval for young users: A survey. Information Processing & Management, 49(4), 739-756. doi:10.1016/j.ipm.2012.12.006
Large, A., Nesset, V., & Beheshti, J. (2008). Children as information seekers: what researchers tell us. New Review Of Children's Literature & Librarianship, 14(2), 121-140. doi: 10.1080/13614540902812631
Liu, R., Shen, C., Xu, L., & Gao, Q. (2013). Children's internet information seeking, life satisfaction, and loneliness: The mediating and moderating role of self-esteem. Computers & Education, 6821-28. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2013.04.019
Lu, Y. (2010). Children's information seeking in coping with daily-life problems: An investigation of fifth- and sixth-grade students. Library & Information Science Research (07408188), 32(1), 77-88. doi:10.1016/j.lisr.2009.09.004
Lwin, M. O., Miyazaki, A. D., Stanaland, A. J., & Lee, E. (2012). Online usage motive and information disclosure for preteen children. Young Consumers, 13(4), 345-356. doi:10.1108/17473611211282590
Madden, A. D., Ford, N. J., & Miller, D. (2006). Children's use of the internet for information-seeking: What strategies do they use, and what factors affect their performance?. Journal Of Documentation, 62(6), 744-761.
Meyers, E. M., Fisher, K. E., & Marcoux, E. (2009).  Making sense of an information world: the everyday-life information behavior of preteens. Library Quarterly, 79(3), 301-341.
Meyers, E. M. (2009). Tip of the iceberg: meaning, identity, and literacy in preteen virtual worlds. Journal Of Education For Library & Information Science, 50(4), 226-236.
Savolainen, R. (2009). Everyday life information seeking. (pp. 1780-1789) Taylor & Francis. doi:doi:10.1081/E-ELIS3-120043920
Shenton, A. K., & Dixon, P. (2003). Youngsters' use of other people as an information-seeking method. Journal Of Librarianship & Information Science, 35(4), 219-233. doi: 10.1177/0961000603035004002
Shenton, A. K., & Dixon, P. (2004). Issues arising from youngsters' information-seeking behavior. Library & Information Science Research (07408188), 26(2), 177-200. doi:10.1016/j.lisr.2003.12.003
St. Jean, B. b., Subramaniam, M., Taylor, N. G., Follman, R., Kodama, C., & Casciotti, D. (2015). The influence of positive hypothesis testing on youths' online health-related information seeking. New Library World, 116(3/4), 136-154. doi: 10.1108/NLW-07-2014-0084
Todd, R. J. (2003). Adolescents of the information age: patterns of information seeking and use, and implications for information professionals. School Libraries Worldwide, 9(2), 27-46.

Watch the Sky

Watch the Sky 
By: Kirsten Hubbard


Published: April 7, 2015
Pages: 275
Grades: 4 and up

The Story 

Something is coming. You just have to see the signs. Celeb, Jory’s stepfather says so. Celeb is former military and he overheard something while he was serving.  Out of all of the people in the world, Celeb chose Jory and his mom to protect. Together they picked a secluded farm to prepare for the end of the world. Along the way, the family adopts a girl by the name of Kit who wanders onto their property and shortly after Jory’s mom adds a new baby brother to the family.  
It seems like the family is complete, and Celeb runs the family on a tight ship to ensure order.

He instills in Jory that family is the only people you can trust. School is Jory’s only escape from Celeb’s tight grip. One day, Celeb sees the final sign. It the sign he has been waiting for. The world is coming to an end. To protect his family, the family sets up a schedule to build an underground bunker, but is the world really coming to an end?

Jory starts to make new friends at school and starts to question Celeb. His little sister does too. Jory must decide what to really  believe before Celeb put them in the bunker.

Favorite Quote

“When you spend so much of your life worried about the future…you forget to live.”


This was an exciting book. It captures the uncertainty of the future well. It left me wondering if maybe this story might turn into a science fiction! I quickly gobbled up this read in anticipation to see what would happen next. I think readers who enjoy problem novels could enjoy this one. It is a little bit different than the typical MG novel, and I think some readers (like myself) will appreciate that.


I was really disappointed by the ending of the book. I felt like the book leads up to this fantastic climax, and then the  book suddenly ends. There wasn’t much of a resolution.
I wanted to know more about Jory and what happened afterward. Did he go to jail? How does the family get by now? What happened to Kit? Who is Kit? Was she even real?

These are just a few of the many questions I have.  

Overall, this book was a little different. I enjoyed the plot, and I become invested in Jory.  
I had flashbacks to the Y2K fiasco.

I will recommend this one to tweens who want a book outside the typical.  It would make a great book for a book discussion. There are just so many questions…..

Have you read this book yet?

What did you think ?


Sweet Sounds: The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by Liz Pichon

Goodreads Synopsis

The top-selling U.K. series for middle-grade listeners now crosses the pond!

Meet Tom Gates. When his teachers don’t have their beady eyes on him, he likes to draw pictures and write about stuff, like last summer’s worst camping vacation ever (five merits!), or how much he hates sitting next to nosy Marcus Meldrew, the most annoying boy at school. All Tom really wants is to score tickets to see the best band ever, Dude3, when they come to town, and to impress Amy Porter, who is very nice and smart (but is currently ignoring him). Tom’s teachers think he is easily distracted and “lacks focus,” but that’s a bit harsh—can he help it if his grumpy big sister, Delia, made him late for school (again), or that last night’s homework had to be sacrificed to stave off a vicious dog attack? Master of excuses, creative storyteller, and middle-school comedian extraordinaire, Tom Gates is guaranteed to get kids listening—and keep them laughing.


If you have ever asked the question, what would Diary of a Wimpy Kid be like if it took place in Britain, instead of America, here is your answer. Kid appeal will undoubtedly be high for both the book and audiobook, now that Tom has made his way to the U.S. Listeners will enjoy Rupert Grint's convincing and amusing portrayal of Tom and his friends and will probably never get Dog Zombie's classic hit, Delia out of their heads. (No, seriously. Sometimes in the middle of the night, Delia pops up out of nowhere...) In addition, I find Tom Gates ten times more charming than Diary of a Wimpy Kid, simply because of the British culture. Outside of travel, what better way is there to be introduced to a culture than through a story? 


While the kid appeal is high for Tom Gates, references to British culture will be lost on certain readers, which will cause the story to lose some or all of its appeal. In addition, Tom Gates offers very little by way of literary quality. The greatest weakness is in the audio production itself. Multitudinous sound effects are included too frequently, in a forced and unnatural manner, and are raised to such a volume as to drown out the speaker's voice. It took me about half the audiobook before I realized the name of Tom's favorite band is Dude3. 


Tom Gates is a perfect recommendation for reluctant reader or someone searching for a nice piece of mindless entertainment. After the stresses that invariably come with the end of a semester, the holidays, and the start of a new semester, perhaps a bit of mindless entertainment is just the thing.  Unfortunately, with the exclusion of Rupert Grint's voice and the catchy tune, Delia, the story's merits outweigh the merits of the audiobook. I would; therefore, recommend reading this one, rather than listening.



Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

I try not to review really popular books, but this one is special. One of my mentors once told me that it is especially important to read and pay attention to what is popular with your age range. If you can keep up with these trends, it makes it easier to connect with the people you work with. I have found this piece of advice to ring true. 

When a kid asks for a Rick Riordan book, I love to start a conversation with them about the books. When I do this, I find that the kids get really excited, and the next time they come in they remember me. It has been a great way to open the door to start to build relationships with new tweens. 

So when I received a copy of the newest Riordan book, I jumped at the chance to read it. 

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard 
By: Rick Riordan 

Book Trailer 


The book is long, but it is perfect for Riordan's growing fan base. I love that it starts off saying that the Magnus is going to die. As a reader, you instantly know this book is going to be packed with action!

With this action, Riordan continues to make this a family series by adding some references that adults would appreciate. He compares Magnus to looking like Kirk Cobain.

He also sprinkles some other  cultural references like Taylor Swift in the book too. I really enjoyed this aspect. I especially enjoyed the diversity and a variety of characters including dwarfs and elves.  

If these wasn't enough, he further entices fans of Percy Jackson by bringing Annabeth  into the story as Magnus's cousin.

I am interested to see how this crossover will take place. This will be especially interesting with Riordan's new book The Trials of Apollo that features Percy. Could we see a crossover in both books?


This book is too similar to Percy Jackson for me. I found the plot to be predictable and repetitive to his previous works.  The character Magnus even had a similar voice to Jackson. Even though it was repetitive, I still couldn't put it down.
Perhaps it is a Riordan spell that is hidden in the mist of  this book.

Overall, this was a fun read. I needed a break from realistic fiction, and this provided the perfect avenue. Riordan has done it again! It ended on a cliffhanger. I can't wait to see what happens next.

What are some of your favorite tweens series?


Helpful links about Norse Mythology 

Norse mythology and Thor is always an interesting subject. As I read this book, I learned a lot about Norse Mythology that I was not aware of.  I wanted to find out more. Here are some helpful links that I used to find out more information:

Cliffsnotes- Cliffsnotes provides a great overview of the mythology in general. This makes a great reference as you are reading the book.

Vikings Beliefs and Stories - This site is powered by BBC and provides a great overview of Viking stories for kids. I would recommend this  resource to kids that want to learn more.

Interview with Rick Riordan- This interview is wonderful! It goes into why Riordan made his book the way he did, and provides a little extra.

If you like this series, you might like: 



What Do Tweens Like 2016

Happy New Year!

Our most popular post here at Tween You & Me is What do Tweens Like? 

In honor of this post and the new year, I wanted to add some new things that are popular with tweens. 


Minecraft is out and Roblox is in! Roblox is similar to Minecraft. It is a world building game. There is much debate on which is better, but this game seems to be taking the popular card. If you work with tweens, be sure to be aware of this game. It is one that is sure to grow even more popular this year. 

World Records 

Tweens enjoy looking at outrageous facts and world records. With the new year, tweens will be flocking to see the new editions of these books. If a tween in your life is having a birthday coming up, this is always a safe gift that will bring hours of enjoyment. 


Rick Riordan is still king among tween literature. In November, this new series  called Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard was released. 

The second part in this series will be released November 2016. Riordan is also keeping the pace going by releasing more books with Percy Jackson

The Hidden Oracle (B&N Exclusive Edition) (The Trials of Apollo Series #1)

This new book called The Trials of Apollo will feature Percy and will be released in May of 2016. I can see this one becoming an instant best seller. Be sure to start planning you Percy Library program for this summer! 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Warriors, Harry Potter, Big Nate, Choose Your Own Adventure, I Survived, James Patterson books and Dork Diaries are also still very popular. 


Many of the same graphic novels continue to be popular -Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes, and Bones are just a few.  

There is also a new Amulet being released! So watch out for that. 

Firelight (Amulet Series #7)

For fans of  Raina Telgemeier, these comics have been extremely popular: 

Sunny Side Up


Roller Girl

Even though they aren't as popular as Raina Telgemeier, I do think they make great read a likes and will continue to grow in popularity. 


Alyssa recently posted a great list of some upcoming movies with tween appeal. I wanted to add a few that are already generating a lot of excitement from tweens. 

Oh, James Patterson. His I Funny Series and Middle School series are still popular. It is only natural that a movie is to follow. This one will be popular for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid & will be an instant tween hit. It is set to hit theaters in Fall of 2016. I am a huge Lauren Graham fan (Gilmore Girls, anyone?) and look forward to seeing this one with the tweens. 

Batman Vs. Superman 

A superhero face off?! You can bet this movie will be a 2016 favorite for tweens and for adults. 

Disney Pop Culture Favorites

Tweens are big fans of fairy tale books & movies. The Descendants is just another example of this. 
This was a TV movie that premiered last summer on the Disney Channel. Its hype is fading out, but this one to be aware of. 

This one is obvious, but I wanted to mention it. With the new movie, it has brought more love to this phenomenon. Star Wars themed books, games, and clothing is big and will continue to hold on strong as Disney continues to release these movies. 

Things with tweens are always changing. One thing that hasn't changed is that tweens enjoy things that are centered around change and allow them to explore the world around them.

So put out Legos, let them play with make up, cook gross stuff, and explore the world.
This exploration allows them to find out who they are. It can't get much better than that!

Until next time, 



Become a Tween Advocate in 2016

As we enter a new year and think about goals, I think about many things that I want to do. I have a long list, and I have come to the conclusion that I am too busy to address everything I want to do. 

Even though my life is really crazy, one thing that I want to make sure of is that I am posting here. 
I plan to have a post every Monday. 

I am a little late this week, but I have been grappling with sharing this post. This post is really personal for me. 

One big thing that has really been on my heart is to become a more active tween advocate in my community. 

So much is shaped in the tween years.  As a tween physically changes and enters into puberty, they are burdened with the task of finding out who they are. 

If that isn't a big enough task, body image issues and self esteem become a problem within this age range. This is especially true with tween girls who are maturing faster and faster. As these tweens are changing and growing, they need the tools to deal with these issues. 
More and more studies are being conducted to understand this. Recently, I ran across a Yahoo article entitled The Age Girls Become Self-Conscious and found it really troubling. 

If  tweens don't have the tools needed to deal with these issues early on, they might face body image issues, depression, drug abuse, or even cutting and suicide. 

I know this isn't a cheery subject, but it has really hit me hard this holiday season. 

 I have a lot of friends have faced cutting and I have lost a friend to suicide. So many more of the people around me  silently face depression.  

When the holidays come around, I think of my loved ones that face these issues, and I think of my friend who passed away. 

Mental health issues are a silent epidemic that none of my school administrators acknowledged and as a kid I didn't know how to handle it. 
Questions just kept swirling around in my head. 

What if someone was there for us in middle school? What if we had a mentor to teach us these skills? What if they got help for their depression?  Would it have changed things? 

Then these questions turn into- what can I do about this? How can we change this? 

I don't ever want one my tween library kids to face these issues. I don't ever want them to know what it is like to lose a friend to suicide. 

This year, I want to be there for them on a deeper level. I want to become their mentor and help them to connect to free organizations in the community for help and resources. By working with tweens and their families, I believe we can make a difference. 

So many families and kids don't get help because they don't have the money, are embarrassed, or don't know where to go. 

We need a bridge to connect these resources to our community. I think the library is the perfect avenue for this. 

In addition to reading middle grade books, creating regular tween programming, and staying up on current trends and fades, I will be learning how to become a mentor. My hope is to partner with families to create a stronger support system for my tweens. I hope that by working together, we can give tweens the tools they need to deal with the hard issues that they face. 

Will you join me? If you would like to join, grab one of the buttons below. 

Let's connect our tweens to books, programming, and mentors in our community. 

- Pamela