Lafayette public library officials address background checks and security

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – On Aug. 31, a parent reached out to News 10 after learning the Lafayette Public Library does not have a screening process in place for presenters of different activities for children.

The parent’s concern stemmed from coverage of the controversial Drag Queen Story Time.

While the lifestyle of the readers was not the issue, the lack of a background check worried the mother.

When that parent reached out to us she was shocked to find out there were no background checks for people that are in such personal settings with young children.

On Monday the Lafayette Public Library Board of Control held their monthly meeting and while a large portion of it included people voicing their concerns of the drag queen story time event, there was an item to address background check information and library security.

“Unfortunately, in the world today, people with bad intentions often find ways to insert themselves into situations where they can be in close proximity to children”, one mother, who only wanted to be identified as Anne, explained. 

Library Director, Teresa Elberson, presented the library’s security protocol to the board Monday.

She says while the library does not perform background checks on its volunteers, there are safety measures in place.

She referred us to the document, which reads in part, security cameras are in every public meeting space, there are family restrooms so children can remain with their guardian, and security personnel are also on the premises during operating hours.

But at least one parent thinks a background check for presenters would be a wise decision. 

“You can get them online forward $15-$20. You just put in the person’s name, Social Security number and then any arrest, convictions, problems with law-enforcement will come up and I think for $15-$20 that would be a very good investment”, Anne said.

Elberson says while volunteers are not screened, since 2012 every single library employee goes through civil and criminal background checks, in compliance with LCG guidelines.

Elberson also added if background checks were to be required for volunteers, that would have to be a decision made by city government.
 

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