Vision and Mission of the Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CISSL)

Vision Statement

All young people and educators have access to information and technology-rich learning communities that prepare them through Guided Inquiry, reading and digital literacy to live and work in a globally networked world.

Mission Statement

Through its research and development program, the Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CISSL) in the School of Communication & Information at Rutgers University seeks to transform education through inquiry learning. CISSL aims to provide the arena that will:

  • Inspire learning and creativity of students;
  • Enhance effective teaching through inquiry learning;
  • Focus on Guided Inquiry, reading and literacy in digital environments;
  • Support school libraries as instructional centers for the development of 21st century skills;
  • Provide professional development that brings CISSL’s research and findings to the educational community;
  • Transform schools into 21st century information and technology rich learning centers.

Belief Statements

The researchers, staff and members of the Advisory Board of the Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries strongly support the following beliefs:

  • The integration of learning, information, and technology presents unique challenges for teachers, school librarians, administrators and students in 21st century schools;
  • Inquiry learning is at the heart of effective teaching;
  • Inquiry learning shifts emphasis to student questioning, critical thinking, problem solving, engagement with diverse information sources, and development of deep knowledge and understanding;
  • Carefully designed teaching and learning initiatives that guide and engage students in their inquiry enable students to transform information to knowledge;
  • Five decades of research, experience, insights and systematic measures support the transformative role of school libraries in the development of the student’s personal, social and cultural growth;
  • CISSL has a commitment to be the connection between the research and the practitioners in the field of school librarianship;
  • School libraries are 21st century places of inquiry-based learning; they are now, more than ever, crucial to the development of students as intellectual agents;
  • School libraries can and should play an integral role in school reform.


Goal 1:   Research
To undertake and disseminate high quality empirical research on how schools, libraries and information agencies can prepare young people to seek and use information as they learn, grow and live in today’s information and technology rich world.


1.1. Pursue a research agenda that includes the following themes:

  • Guided Inquiry
  • Reading and Literacy
  • Information Seeking Behaviors of Youth, especially in Social Media and Technology
  • Knowledge Construction
  • Evidence Based Practice.

1.2. Disseminate research findings in a variety of forums and contexts, including an international research symposium, CISSL’s website, and publishing initiatives;

1.3.  Provide opportunities for doctoral students to nurture their scholarly growth through engagement with CISSL’s research;

1.4.  Engage scholars in an internationally collaborative research agenda.

Goal 2: Professional Development
To provide opportunities for certified school librarians and other educators to learn current research and apply it to their practice.


2.1. Provide opportunities for all educators to learn current research related to evidence-based practice and to apply it to their teaching;

2.2. Foster continuous improvement of professional practice for all educators founded on empirical research through Professional Development opportunities;

2.3. Shape pre-service education and certification of school librarians;

2.4. Be a resource for school librarians throughout the world through the publication of research and research-to-practice materials in print and electronic formats;

2.5. Engage and support MLIS and Ph.D. students enrolled in the Rutgers University SC&I who share CISSL’s mission.

Goal 3: Partnerships and Strategic Alliances
To recognize and partner with the stakeholders in the learning community in the US and abroad who share CISSL’s mission.


3.1.  Identify professional associations, research groups, vendors and others in the learning community who are potential partners;

3.2.  Reach out to identified groups with shared activities and projects;

3.3.  Invite those who can contribute most effectively to CISSL’s mission to a seat on the CISSL Advisory Board.

Goal 4: Financial Health
To pursue sources of funding that will enable CISSL to support its research and research-to-practice initiatives.


The Research Team will:
4.1.  Aggressively pursue grants to fund research and research-to-practice initiatives;

4.2.  Seek partnerships to fund research and research-to-practice initiatives.

A Board committee and the Friends will:4.3.  Seek memberships and donations, concentrating on the practitioners within the profession, the vendors who will benefit from the work of CISSL, and all other interested parties within the learning community.

A Board committee and a graduate student will:
4.4.  Develop professional materials, including the CISSL website and Rutgers’ repository, to raise the visibility of CISSL in the academic, commercial, and educational communities.

Goal 5: Administrative Efficiency
To allow the research faculty to utilize their efforts effectively and efficiently, an administrative team will be formed to deal with business matters and the implementation of the plan.


5.1.  Engage an Executive Director with responsibility to oversee CISSL’s plan, implementation, business and office needs, and to coordinate efforts of other members of the Management Team;

5.2.  Form a Management Team consisting of the two Coordinators, the Senior Consultant, the Executive Director, the Planning and Development Director, the Project Director, the Professional Development Director and the Head of the Friends.  Members of the team may be changed as necessary.  The team will be members of the Advisory Board and will cooperate with the Research Team through the Coordinators.  This will allow the research faculty to utilize their efforts effectively and efficiently;

5.3.  Redesign the Advisory Board to recruit vendors, scholars and other key players who will promote the goals of CISSL;

5.4.  Form a Marketing Committee headed by Claudia Gentner to prepare a plan for board and team input;

5.5. Establish budgeting procedures which are accurate, transparent, and goal-oriented;

5.6.  Build an email list of contacts to reach supporters;

5.7.  Evaluate the new structure and revise as needed to fulfill mission.