At first glance, ‘literacy’ would seem to be a term that everyone understands. But at the same time, literacy as a concept has proved to be both complex and dynamic, continuing to be interpreted and defined in a multiplicity of ways.
CCPL defined literacy is the complex set of skills necessary for daily life, employment, citizenship and personal enjoyment of our modern and diverse society influenced by lifelong learning, changing needs, skills use or retention, and health.
In 2013 CCPL Board Members discussed the definition of literacy and chose to adopt the UNESCO definition.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines literacy as the "ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society."
Literacy traditionally includes the following four skills reading, writing, document use and numeracy. Essential Skills are the skills needed for the workplace. They include the four skills associated with literacy above, as well as the following five skills computer use, thinking, oral communication, working with others and continuous learning.
In our everyday lives we use basic reading and writing with our essential skills to create meaning and impact. By improving our literacy skills we enrich our lives and the lives of our families, friends and communities.