Radical change theory, youth information behavior, and school libraries

Eliza T. Dresang, Kyungwon Koh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


School libraries confront significant changes in the digital age, the age of Web 2.0 and of participatory culture. Radical Change theory, based on the digital age principles of interactivity, connectivity, and access, is germane to understanding these transformations. The theory was originally developed to explain changes in digital age books for youth. It is expanded here through the creation of a typology and accompanying characteristics that address how digital age youth think and seek information; perceive themselves and others; and access information and seek community. As a basis for their typology, the authors provide detailed evidence from an extensive interdisciplinary review of research literature concerning youth information behavior. Also proposed is a multistage research agenda that involves applying Radical Change theory in various school library settings for proof of concept followed by an exploration of potential associations between digital age youth information behaviors and twenty-first-century learning skills. This theory development will assist in determining what implications the new information behaviors and resources have for libraries, schools, and other information environments and how information professionals can better help youth become skilled twenty-first-century information seekers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-50
Number of pages25
JournalLibrary Trends
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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