Purpose – The paper seeks to draw on Sice's systems model, itself based on Senge's “fixes that fail” archetype, and on data from two previous research projects conducted by one of the authors. The purpose of this paper is to synthesise a new model that portrays the information-seeking behaviour of children and young people. Design/methodology/approach – The systems model provides the backbone of the new framework but additions, accommodations and revisions were made to ensure that the version featured here represents the phenomenon of information seeking by the young as appropriately as possible in terms of the data that were gathered. Findings – One of the new model's most significant characteristics is its emphasis on problems and issues that prevent information seeking from proceeding smoothly. Information seeking is also shown to be an iterative process, with the individual often revisiting previous stages, frequently in response to difficulties. Research limitations/implications – Data were collected from pupils in just seven schools. The undertaking of research further a-field would be invaluable, if the extent to which the model is applicable to other information-seekers in different environments is to be ascertained. Practical implications – The model demonstrates the importance of the information professional's educative role, in terms of both delivering formal information literacy instruction and providing assistance at the point of need. Originality/value – Although the use of ideas and frameworks from other disciplines, with the aim of increasing understanding of phenomena within LIS, is a growing trend, this paper represents one of the first attempts to apply an existing model associated with systems thinking to information behaviour.