Updated and approved by the MSU Library Management Team - 11/07/2023

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, as outlined in this policy. This page details our animal policies which 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

  • Service Animals:  Allowed in all campus buildings. 
  • Comfort, and/or Emotional Support Animals: 
  • Therapy Animals with their handlers:  Approved by Library Administration for specific events. 
  • Pets:  Not allowed in any campus buildings, including the library.

What Patrons Can Expect from Library Staff

  • MSU Library Policies follow Campus Policies (see the “MSU Library Policies follow Campus Policies” section below). 
  • There are only two questions that can be asked by employees about a service animal: 
    • “Is this a service animal required because of a disability?” 
    • “What tasks has this animal been trained to perform?” 
  • We may also ask if you have accommodations issued by MSU Disabilities Services which names your animal an “assistance animal” as an academic accommodation.  
  • Documentation of a disability, or verification of service animal training is not required. 
  • 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. 
  • If your animal is not allowed in the building, we will ask you to leave. 
  • If we interact with you repeatedly about disruptive behavior, we will inform University Police.

What We Expect from Library Patrons

  • You should ensure that your animal is allowed in the building according to campus policies and applicable definitions (see “Details and Definitions” section below). 
  • If your animal is allowed, it 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. 
  • Please 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 an accommodation issued by MSU Disabilities Services if asked and applicable.

Our Policies Are Campus Policies

Details & Definitions

The following definitions are fromthe ADA National Network guide for Service Animals, unless otherwise noted.  

Service 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). 
  • Service Animal Policy from the MSU Office of Disability Services 

Therapy Animals (information from Petpartners.org): 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 ADA 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.To requestaccommodations,see the MSU Office of Disabilities page for Service Animals & Assistance Animals.