Montana State University Library

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Montana State University Library
Looking SE at Renne Library - Montana State University - 2013-07-09.jpg
TypeAcademic library
EstablishedJanuary 1894
LocationBozeman, Montana, US
Coordinates45°40′00″N 111°02′55″W / 45.66667°N 111.04861°W / 45.66667; -111.04861Coordinates: 45°40′00″N 111°02′55″W / 45.66667°N 111.04861°W / 45.66667; -111.04861
Items collectedBooks 523,937; E-Books 230,104; Gov Docs 114,000; Microforms-Audio-Video 2,210,828; Serial Subscription 15,615; Archives 3,651 ft (1,113 m) linear
Other information
Budget$9,307,161 FY 2022[1]
DirectorDoralyn Rossmann

The Montana State University Library (MSU Library) is the academic library of Montana State University, Montana's land-grant university, in Bozeman, Montana, United States. It is the flagship library for all of the Montana State University System's campuses. In 1978, the library was named the Roland R. Renne Library to honor the sixth president of the university. The library supports the research and information needs of Montana's students, faculty, and the Montana Extension Service.


In January 1894, about seven months after Montana College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts was founded, the college began acquiring and housing a formal library collection for its students and faculty research use. For the first two years of the library's existence, students or instructors served part-time to provide library services. In 1896, Mabel Ruth Owens became the first full-time professional librarian to oversee the library's operations and collection development. In 1927, the library was moved to the second floor of Montana Hall.[3]

Library in 1904
Library in 1950

In 1949, the library, its collection and research services were moved to a newly constructed 8,894 sq ft (826.3 m2) library facility.[4] After the transfer of nearly 100,000 volumes from various locations around campus the library officially opened its doors on January 9, 1950.[5]

Shortly thereafter, the then University Librarian Lesley M. Heathcote described the new facility as "not especially inspiring to look at" and embarked on expanding both the library building and its collections.[5] In August 1960, construction began on a new 125,000 square foot addition adjacent to the west side of the 1950 building.[6] The basement and first floor of the new addition were opened on January 3, 1962 and the entire four-story new addition was completed for occupancy in November 1966. On October 14, 1978, the Montana State University library was officially named for Roland R. Renne, the university's sixth president.[7] The Montana State University Renne Library Building is 112,000 square feet in size and has a seating capacity of 1,100 and a total staffing of 74 part-time and full-time employees.[1]

In 2002, a significant three-year remodeling and seismic bracing were completed. The remodel included providing additional individual and group student study space, adding a new coffee bar and installing MSU alumnus Rudy Autio's ceramic sculpture Kosmos.[8] A remodeling in 2011 transformed the entire first floor into an Information Commons. The newly reconfigured first floor opened up the area and added: movable furniture, multiple computer stations, portable classroom equipment, module group study rooms, increased power supply access for mobile devices, an expanded Writing Center, and Library Commons Technical Support staff to assist students and faculty with technical expertise. The Commons was designed and implemented to meet the needs of academic research faculty and students in the collaborative 21st-century information technology environment.[9]

The library has over 100 computers, many scanners and printers for walk-in use, and flexible module setting, tables and configurable group-study work areas. Laptops, handhelds and digital cameras are available for student checkout and there are numerous power-stations available for recharging handheld devices. Included in the Library Commons along with the Brewed Awakening Coffee Bar and Writing Center, are Browse and Reading Areas of current issues of magazines, daily newspapers, new book acquisitions and two sections of recommended books, one by university faculty and the other by library staff.[1]

The Montana State University (MSU) Library website gives students, faculty and the Montana community online access to Ask A Librarian online chat, the library catalog, digital collections, reserves, interlibrary loan, student group-room reservations, and online retrieval of e-books and academic journals.


Montana State University Library's collections include: books, e-books, digital media, multimedia, government documents, special collections, university archives, microform, and electronic and print academic, literary, and scientific journals and magazines.

Digital collections[edit]

There are several types of digital collections at Montana State University Library.[10] One type includes collections held within the library's Special Collections that have been digitized for both online patron access and archival purposes, such as the early 20th century photographs by Thomas Brook and early Montana Extension Service Bulletins.[11][12]

A second type of digital collection includes those that are unique born-digital and reformatted digitally scanned print research materials focused on a Montana State University's degree program such as the Department of Earth Sciences' Advanced Snow Science Degree in partnership with International Snow Science Workshop (ISSW), American Avalanche Association and Canadian Avalanche Center.[13]

A third type of digital collection includes those collections culminating from a partnership grant to develop and distribute online research materials to faculty, students and the regional public. Examples of academic scholarly partnerships include the Range Science Information System (RSIS), an academic scholarly partnership project between Montana State University Library, the University of Idaho,[14] and the University of Wyoming,[15][16] and the Indian Peoples of the Northern Great Plains Digital Collection, which was a partnership grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) with Little Big Horn College Library, MSU-Northern Library, MSU-Bozeman Library, MSU-Billings Library, and the Museum of the Rockies.[17][18]

The library is home to the Acoustic Atlas, a browsable collection of habitat and species sounds from throughout the Western United States. The Acoustic Atlas includes the Yellowstone Collection, a curated compilation of field recordings as well as a podcast series highlighting America's first national park. The audio collection offers a freely-accessible online archive of natural sounds, interviews and radio stories focused on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.[19]


ScholarWorks is an open access institutional repository developed and maintained by the MSU Library for the collection, storage and online retrieval of Montana State University's intellectual work and scholarly output focused on Montana State University's mission of teaching, original research and community education initiatives.[20]

Archives and Special Collections[edit]

The Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections contains more than 34,000 volumes and 1,200 linear feet of primary source original manuscript materials, historical documents, and photographs covering collections on the Yellowstone National Park and its region, Native American People of Montana and the Great Plains region, Montana and Western United States agriculture, ranching, engineering and architecture, Bud Lilly Trout & Salmonid Initiative Collection, and the Ivan Doig Archive.[21][22] Access to the Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections is through the Burton K. Wheeler Reading Room.

Photo of the Montana State University Library Burton K. Wheeler Reading Room in the Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections
Trout & Salmonidae Collection in Burton K. Wheeler Reading Room
  • Ivan Doig Archive: Manuscripts, proofs and galleys, typed and handwritten writing fragments, pocket notebooks, note cards, diaries, journals, photographs, audio/visual material, and memorabilia created or collected by Ivan Doig. The material has been sorted into twelve series based on subject and/or document type. Physical artifacts are preserved within Montana State University Library's Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections. A freely accessible digitized collection is also available online.[23][24]
  • Yellowstone National Park & Ecosystem: Diaries, log books, correspondence, military records, scientific research, scrapbooks, stereographs and photographs created by early park employees and visitors from Yellowstone National Park's inception in 1872 through the late 20th century. Examples of individual collections include:
  • Trout and Salmonid Collection: Over 11,000 books, periodicals and grey literature with ephemera and research materials including:[26][27]
  • Prominent Montanans: Correspondence, professional and personal papers, publications, photographs, literary manuscripts, military papers, diaries, journals, gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional papers. Examples of individual collections include:
  • Regional Native Americans: Correspondence, photographs, reservation records, telegrams, treaties, allotment plats, hearing papers, diaries and Indian Claims Commission research papers. Examples of individual collections include:
  • Montana Agriculture, Ranching, Engineering & Architecture: Ranch business records, personal papers, ranching and farming organizations' records, photographs, scrapbooks, diaries and range science research materials of Montana ranchers, farmers, agricultural industry professionals and agricultural scientists starting from the 1870s through end of the 20th century. Examples of individual collections include:
    • August "Gus" Hormay Papers, 1900–1999
    • Strode Family – Stirrup Ranch, 1896–1969
    • Castle Mountain Cattle and Sheep Company, 1877–1971
    • 2,800 individual drawing sets and personal papers of architects' projects starting from 1828 through 1980 [28]
  • University Archives: Contains manuscript records and historical photographs of Montana State University. The MSU Archives has over 1,728 cu ft (48.9 m3) of office files, official correspondence, reports, and other records generated by the various subdivisions of the institution since its founding in 1893. Record groups are continuously added to the archives and item or serial level cataloging are provided for the numerous publications by the University and its faculty and staff.[4]


The fiscal year 2020 total budget for Montana State University Library is $9,051,839. Included in that total are materials expenditures of $5,770,550 and personnel expenditures of $3,085,448. The Montana State University Archival collection total is 3,651 linear feet.[1]

Picture of Montana State University Library First Floor and Brewed Awakening Coffee Shop
Library first floor and Brewed Awakening coffee Shop

Special events[edit]

Montana State University Library's hosted special events include:



Academic and research library memberships for Montana State University Library include:


  1. ^ a b c d "Montana State University Library Statistical Profile". Montana State University Library. Archived from the original on 23 June 2019. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Montana State University Library Staff Directory & Departments". Archived from the original on 1 February 2022. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  3. ^ "Library Move". The Weekly Exponent. 14. XVIII. January 11, 1927.
  4. ^ a b Rydell, Robert (1992). In the People's Interest: A Centennial History of Montana State University. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University Foundation. p. 274. ISBN 0963511408.
  5. ^ a b Heathcote, Lesley M. (July 1951). "Function and Color: Montana State College Library" (PDF). College and Research Libraries. 12. 12 (3): 230–232. doi:10.5860/crl_12_03_230. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2014-08-08. Retrieved 2013-10-11.
  6. ^ Fountain of Learning. Bozeman: The Endowment and Research Foundation at Montana State College. 1959.
  7. ^ "Montana State University Library About Us". Montana State University. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  8. ^ "Renne Library wins state award for renovation". Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Archived from the original on 26 August 2022. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  9. ^ Gould, Thomas H.P. (2011). Creating The Academic Commons. Scarecrow Press. pp. xxv, ix, 29. ISBN 978-0810881082. Archived from the original on 2013-12-31. Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  10. ^ "Archives and Special Collections". Montana State University Library. Archived from the original on 2022-07-28. Retrieved 2022-07-28.
  11. ^ "Montana State University Extension Service Historical Publications". Archived from the original on 2022-07-09. Retrieved 2022-07-28.
  12. ^ "Thomas Brown Brook Photographs Collection". Archived from the original on 2022-04-19. Retrieved 2022-07-28.
  13. ^ "ISSW Steering Committee is Born". International Snow Science Workshop. Archived from the original on 23 September 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  14. ^ "Rangeland Ecology and Management". University of Idaho. Archived from the original on 2013-08-28. Retrieved 2013-08-27.
  15. ^ "College of Agriculture and Natural Resources". University of Wyoming. Archived from the original on 2013-09-02. Retrieved 2013-08-27.
  16. ^ "About the Range Science Information System (RSIS)". Montana State University Library. Archived from the original on 14 September 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  17. ^ Peterson, Elaine (2 April 2001). "A Shared Digital Library of Native American Images". First Monday. 4. 6 (4). doi:10.5210/fm.v6i4.851. Archived from the original on 5 September 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  18. ^ "Original IMLS Grant Project". Montana State University Library. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  19. ^ "MSU Library, Park launch 'Yellowstone Collection'". Sidney Herald. February 11, 2016. Archived from the original on March 1, 2016. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  20. ^ Montana State University Library. "ScholarWorks". Montana State University. Archived from the original on 1 October 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  21. ^ "About MSU Library Special Collections". Montana State University Library. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  22. ^ "Bud Lilly Trout & Salmonid Initiative". Montana State University Library. Archived from the original on 16 June 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  23. ^ "Ivan Doig Papers, 1939-2015". Archives West. 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-09-20. Retrieved 2016-09-19.
  24. ^ "Ivan Doig Archive". Montana State University Library. 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-09-24. Retrieved 2016-09-19.
  25. ^ Bonney, Orrin and Lorraine (1970). Battle Drums and Geysers. Swallow Press.
  26. ^ Schullery, Paul (2006). "Cowboy Trout: Western Fly Fishing as if it Matters". Montana Historical Society: 7.
  27. ^ McCafferty, Keith (Spring 2010). "Hooking Up with Bud Lilly". Outside Magazine. 1. 11: 26–29.
  28. ^ Cachon, H. Rafael (Summer 2013). "Montana Modernism;Contemporary Architecture in the Western State, 1945-197". Montana The Magazine of Western History. 2. 63: 3–25.
  29. ^ "Tribal College Librarians Professional Development Institute". Montana State University Library. Archived from the original on 5 December 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  30. ^ "Montana State University Brings In Stress Dogs For Finals". Huffington Post. 26 April 2013. Archived from the original on 10 July 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  31. ^ "About Us". Montana State University Library. Archived from the original on 15 June 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  32. ^ "100 Most Social Media Friendly College & University Libraries for 2013". Library Science List. Archived from the original on 12 August 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.