Approved by the MSU Library Executive Team - 04/01/2019


The MSU Library Mission statement

We support and advance teaching, learning, and research for Montana State University and the people of Montana by providing access to information and knowledge.


In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all registered service animals are welcomed and permitted in the MSU Library. Other animals may be prohibited. This policy details our animal policies, policies that allow the patrons of the MSU Library to use the facilities and programs in a safe, pleasant environment, conducive to study and research.

Animal Policy at a Glance

  • Pets: Not allowed in any campus building, including the library.
  • Comfort Animals or Emotional Support Animals: Allowed with Blue Card (see below)
    • Blue cards must be officially approved by MSU Disabilities Services
  • Therapy Animals with Handlers: Approved for specific events only
  • Service Animals or Assistance Animals: Allowed in all campus buildings

What Patrons Can Expect from Library Staff

  • Our Policies are Campus Policies (see below)
  • We support our community by creating, providing, and maintaining a safe, pleasant, and welcoming environment for all patrons.
  • We courteously and proactively address any concerns, disruptions, or interactions that are brought to our attention related to animals in the building.
    • Disruptions include unruly or disruptive behavior, e.g., barking, urination, or not under owner’s control.
    • If the animal displays any disruptive behavior, regardless of category/definition, you will be asked to leave the building.
  • We may also ask if you have a Blue Card issued by MSU Disabilities Services. The card is officially approved and provided to you by their office and names your animal an “assistance animal” as an academic accommodation. To request a Blue Card (see information below).
  • If your animal is not allowed in the building, we will ask you to leave.
  • If we interact with you repeatedly about..., we will inform University Police.

What We Expect from Library Patrons

  • Ensure that your animal is allowed in the building according to campus policies and applicable definitions (see below).
  • If allowed, your animal must be leashed or harnessed and remain on the floor at all times. Animals may not be carried and may not sit or stand on any furniture.
  • Cooperate with and treat us with courtesy if we directly address any concerns or interactions that are brought to our attention; you will let us know if you have a Blue Card issued by MSU Disabilities Services if asked and applicable.

Our Policies Are Campus Policies

Details & Definitions

Service Animals (also called Assistance Animals): Dogs individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. (

  • Service animals are working animals, not pets. The task or work they’ve been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. (
  • Animals with the sole function of providing comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). (

Therapy Animals: Volunteer therapy animal teams provide affection and comfort to members of the public, typically in facility settings such as hospitals, assisted living, and schools, at pre-designated times. (

  • These pets are registered with their handlers, have a special aptitude for interacting with members of the public, and enjoy doing so. Therapy animal handlers volunteer their time to visit with their animals in the community.
  • Therapy animals have no special rights of access, may not enter businesses with “no pets” policies, or accompany their handler in the cabin of an airplane regardless of their therapy animal designation.
  • Therapy animals must be approved in campus buildings for specific events such as Paws to de-Stress, case-by-case.


Comfort Animals (also called Emotional Support Animals): Animals that provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and sometimes help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias, but do not have special training to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities. (

  • The pet must be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional for a person with a mental illness. The prescription must state that the individual has an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, and that the presence of the animal is necessary for the individual’s mental health. (
  • While emotional support animals or comfort animals are often used as part of a medical treatment plan, they are pets and are not considered service animals under the ADA1 and have no special rights of access. As such, they may only accompany their owners in public areas with the express permission of each individual venue and/or facility management, although they may travel with their owners on airplanes with documentation as required by the airline.

A comfort animal must be approved by MSU Office of Disabilities to be in the library and you will be issued a Blue Card. To request a Blue Card, visit-