Know Your Org: Plymouth-Canton Community Literacy Council

"Know Your Org" is an informational series designed to spotlight some of the wonderful organizations in our community. This month we are highlighting the Plymouth-Canton Community Literacy Council. 

The Plymouth-Canton Community Literacy Council (CLC) is a nonprofit organization that helps Western-Wayne County adults who have limited English language skills improve their literacy.

Living in a community where English is spoken and written more than any other language can be hard to navigate if it isn’t a language you’re very familiar with. The Canton Public Library is a proud partner of the CLC, and together we host English Language Learning (ELL) book groups, reading and conversation groups. Our partnership began in 2011, and CPL’s conversation group remains the most popular group within the CLC.

The library spoke with Andrea Hug, the executive director of the Plymouth-Canton Community Literacy Council and the council’s only employee, to learn more about the organization and the services they provide. Hug has many responsibilities including interviewing new learners, recruiting potential tutors, event planning, maintaining the organization’s website and coordinating fundraisers.

Services and Where to Find Them

The CLC’s main service is providing English language learners with English literacy support through one-on-one tutoring, conversation groups and general tutoring in Plymouth-Canton Community Schools’ Adult ESL and Adult Basic Education classrooms. The most popular service is one-on-one tutoring, however, Hug stresses that conversation groups are a great way to practice English in-between meetings with a one-on-one tutor.

One-on-one tutoring sessions take place in a variety of locations—libraries and coffee shops are common places for these meetings, but there are many different public places where this learning can occur, such as the pickleball courts in downtown Plymouth or other parks. Field trips are always encouraged as a way to learn more about American culture as well.

The CLC’s conversation groups are hosted at the Canton Public Library, Plymouth District Library, Northville District Library, Connection Church and St. John’s Episcopal Church in Plymouth. ELL learners can also join book clubs and reading groups at Canton Public Library, Plymouth District Library and Connection Church.


The CLC was founded in 1985 at Starkweather Alternative High School in Old Village, Plymouth. The principal at the time realized that many students had parents who spoke English as a second language. The school then developed a program to assist parents and other adults with their English language skills. When parents are able to read, write and speak English, their children become more successful learners in school. This also enables parents to communicate more easily with teachers, doctors and neighbors.

In 2011, we reached out to CLC to coordinate programs at the Canton Public Library, becoming the first library in the area to offer CLC services to English language learners. 


Currently, the Literacy Council has over 160 volunteer tutors and over 300 learners. The CLC has a waiting list of learners, so they always need additional tutors. You do not need a background in education or language arts to tutor. All that volunteer tutors need to know is how to speak, read and write in English—they do not need to know any other language.

Hug tells us that the two most valued qualifications for tutors is that they enjoy working with people and having a good laugh. "My philosophy is that you should laugh at least once during your tutoring sessions," she says. 

Hug also stresses that it helps to be compassionate, as the CLC works with many displaced families and refugees from Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Ukraine. "A lot of these people are very well educated, but drive Ubers or work in restaurants because their degrees do not transfer to the United States," she explains.

"Be kind. Talk slowly. Listen. Imagine if you were in a foreign country for an extended period of time and did not speak the language. How do you communicate with your neighbors? How do you ask for specific foods at the grocery store? How do you express your needs to your doctor? How do you help your children with their homework? How do you prepare for a better job? That’s where Community Literacy Council can help,” Hug says. 

The CLC also provides comprehensive training for tutors that offers guidelines, resources and support. Want to give back to the community and volunteer? Register here to become a tutor.


The CLC greatly appreciates the public’s support to continue their efforts to service adult English language learners in our community. Every dollar received is a direct investment in the lives of adults who want to become more self-sufficient, improve their lives as well as their families’ lives, and make a meaningful contribution to their community by improving their literacy skills.

The organization accepts donations through their PayPal account or via check. Learn more about donating here.

Making a Difference

The Plymouth-Canton Community Literacy Council is a wonderful organization that many English language learners are able to benefit from, and we at CPL are proud to provide the vital services they offer to our community. While the CLC serves many learners, there are many more individuals hoping to utilize their services, and the organization has a great need for additional tutors. Learn more about becoming a tutor or spread the word about this opportunity to anyone looking to make a difference in the community.

For more information about the CLC, check out their website. If you have any questions, contact Andrea Hug through email at