In Japan, since around 2000, there has been increasing concern about children’s reading activities, partly because of a decline in academic achievement and, in 2001, the Law Concerning the Promotion of Reading Activities among Children (2001, Law No. 154) was proclaimed and enforced. There has been a substantial amount of research from a range of perspectives on the information-media environment surrounding children, children’s reading activities, and how children use information obtained from the non-print media such as TV and the Internet and how these media affect children. Although results from a number of specialized fields have been obtained, few studies that review such results comprehensively have been conducted in Japan.

   To fill this gap, this study reviews research on children’s information-media usage and, by utilizing related statistics and surveys and by examining the policies and programs of central and local governments, it also gives an outline of the environment and background to this issue. By putting different arguments and research trends related to children’s information-media usage in perspective, this report aims to contribute to services for children at the International Library of Children’s Literature and other libraries and to reading promotion programs in Japan.

   This report consists of the following seven chapters.

   “Chapter 1: Introduction” describes the background and purpose of this study and provides a clear description of “children’s information behavior”.

   “Chapter 2: Current information environment surrounding children” explains the social background of this study and, to provide a foundation for the present work, summarizes the current situation of children and information media and trends in the information-media industry using key statistics.

   “Chapter 3: Review of previous surveys” lists key surveys on children’s information behavior during the past 20 years and reviews trends in the surveys by period..

   “Chapter 4: Review of previous research” reviews research on children’s information behavior over the past 20 years. Since this paper has adopted an interdisciplinary approach, the chapter discusses the following six topics: “children’s information behavior in relation to public and school libraries,” “children’s web information search behavior,” “pedagogical studies on children's reading,” “developmental studies on the psychological influence of the various forms of media,” “sociological studies on children’s information behavior,” and “research trends in the U.S.” The discussion is conducted from the perspectives of research into educational technology, pedagogy, psychology, sociology, with a special emphasis on library information science.

   “Chapter 5: Policies on reading and information education” discusses the following four topics: “development of information policy in Japan,” “promotion of children’s reading activities,” “information literacy education,” and “measures against harmful content,” and analyzes policy outlines and trends.

   “Chapter 6: Trends in libraries' and related organizations' activities on children and information media” introduces approaches that libraries and related organizations both in Japan and overseas have been taking, examines children’s reading and media usage.

   As a general overview, “Chapter 7: Conclusion” provides a comprehensive discussion of the issues emerging from research trends on children’s information behavior in recent years and seeks to identify services that libraries can provide to children.