Plain Language at IMLS

The Plain Writing Act of 2010 (PDF, 128 KB) requires federal agencies to write "clear government communication that the public can understand and use." President Obama also emphasized the importance of establishing "a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration" in his January 21, 2009, Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government.

We at the Institute of Museum and Library Services are committed to writing new documents in plain language, using the Federal Plain Language Guidelines. The Act requires us to do so beginning October 13, 2011.

We need your help to comply with this new law. Let us know if you have trouble understanding our documents or the pages on our website by contacting

We’re training our employees and have strengthened our oversight process. We must use plain language in any document that:

  • is necessary for obtaining any federal government benefit or service or filing taxes;
  • provides information about any federal government benefit or service; or
  • explains to the public how to comply with a requirement that the federal government administers or enforces.

We have to report our progress and compliance with the Act by July 13, 2011. Our initial report can be read here (PDF, 24 KB).

We are also required to issue a report on our efforts every year before April 13. We will post those reports here as well.

Annual Reports

April 13, 2012 (PDF, 25 KB)