This is the first part of a two-part article that offers a theoretical and an empirical model of the everyday life information needs of urban teenagers. The qualitative methodology used to gather data for the development of the models included written surveys, audio journals, written activity logs, photographs, and semistructured group interviews. Twenty-seven inner-city teens aged 14 through 17 participated in the study. Data analysis took the form of iterative pattern coding using QSR NVivo 2 software (QSR International, 2002). The resulting theoretical model includes seven areas of urban teen development: the social self, the emotional self, the reflective self, the physical self, the creative self, the cognitive self, and the sexual self. The researchers conclude that the essence of teen everyday life information seeking (ELIS) is the gathering and processing of information to facilitate the teen-to-adulthood maturation process. ELIS is self-exploration and world exploration that helps teens understand themselves and the social and physical worlds in which they live. This study shows the necessity of tying youth information-seeking research to developmental theory in order to examine the reasons why adolescents engage in various information behaviors.