This paper introduces the significant body of research on everyday literacies that has developed over the last 20 years and links it with the concerns of those working in the field of lifelong learning. It starts by briefly introducing debates about adult informal learning. It goes on to discuss ethnographic and interview studies of everyday learning and literacies, using both print and electronic media. It presents some of the new insights and orthodoxies from this research and discusses the challenges it poses to formal pedagogies. The paper goes on to identify some key issues that still need to be resolved, looking at the strengths and limitations of both informal and formal learning opportunities for literacy. For example, everyday networks have both strengths and limitations for learning; local knowledge resources are flexible but unevenly spread. The paper closes by looking at the implications of this work for the organisation of literacy learning opportunities for adults.