Library Support Group Disagrees with City Library Background Check Policy

By Michael Klazema on 8/15/2012

Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Friends of the Helmerich Library nonprofit group has decided to withdraw their support of the Tulsa City County Library system due to concerns that their nonprofit status would be impacted by changes in the library’s background check policy. The group will no longer collect books from the public for fundraising purposes and is not allowed to participate in activities sponsored or promoted by the library. The dispute arose after a vote by the library commission earlier this year requiring background checks for all the officers of foundations that support the library. The Friends group disagrees with the requirement, saying that rules from the IRS disallow third-parties from having authority over policies or activities of a 501c3 nonprofit. They also counter that the officers of the Helmerich Friends group are not library volunteers. The group has suggested they provide results of their own background checks or change their name, according to Friends of the Helmerich Library board president Connie Largess.

According to Gary Shaffer, CEO of the Tulsa Library, the policy is there in order for children to be protected. He said the practice is “a small price to pay” to ensure children’s safety. Library policy requires all employees and volunteers to submit to a criminal background check. However, Largess said the Helmerich foundation does not supply volunteers to the library, nor do their officers act as volunteers. According to Largess, the group simply “provide[s] financial support” and has “no interaction with children.” She said that since many of the group’s members have volunteered for and undergone criminal checks for other organizations that they could provide the results of those to the library. She added that since they are an independent nonprofit, the Helmerich Friends group is not subject to oversight from the library system. Other members of the nonprofit are concerned that by agreeing to the background checks policy, the group is opening itself up to further oversight by library administrators.

Shaffer contends that even board members of groups affiliated with the library are considered volunteers, and all volunteers are subject to complete background checks. Shaffer said the library is currently negotiating with the nonprofit to find a way to complete the checks while alleviating their concerns at the same time. However, he said that the library is prepared to go on without the support of the Helmerich Friends group.

Does your business hire contractors or third parties who have access to the public or sensitive information? If you’re not conducting background checks on every person involved in your business, you could be making a mistake. By using a reputable company like, you can be assured you are getting the best and most thorough background check screening techniques available. With access to countless criminal databases nationwide they have many options available, several with instant results. Their US OneSEARCH gives you instant information from more than 430 million criminal records from counties, Department of Corrections (DOC), Administration of Courts (AOC) and State Sex Offender Registries covering 49 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam. Also included are national and international terrorism sources, more than 11 million photos, and their proprietary database of previously completed reports. Or try their US Offender OneSEARCH, which includes information contained in their comprehensive US OneSEARCH. Plus, this data includes sex offender information from 49 states (plus Washington D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico) with photos.

About - - a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) - serves thousands of customers nationwide, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies by providing comprehensive screening services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with an Eastern Operations Center in Chapin, S.C., is home to one of the largest online criminal conviction databases in the industry. For more information about backgroundchecks’ offerings, please visit



Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • June 20 Repeat background checks are becoming more common, with companies in India leading the charge. What does this trend look like, and how can employers embrace it now to stay ahead of the curve?
  • June 19

    Every federal job involves a background check of some kind. These background checks and how they are evaluated vary based on job, department, and security clearance level.

  • June 18

  • June 14 Ban the box laws aim to improve opportunities for employment. Could they have the opposite effect instead?
  • June 13 Jacobs Petroleum Products is a regional petroleum company that operates throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland. Apart from their employees carrying much responsibility and have frequent contact with customers, the company’s hiring also tends to be segmented since individual store managers are responsible for hiring talent for their own stores. In this employment landscape, Jacobs Petroleum Products needed a reliable and effective way to screen its new hires for criminal infractions and other red flags.
  • June 12

    The University of Wisconsin System may tweak its hiring and reference check processes. The potential changes come after one of UW’s assistant deans was accused of sexual harassment.

  • June 07 Stories of abuse by coaches in youth sports leagues continue to crop up around the country, but rules and guidelines remain patchy and enforcement is often lacking. The struggle to implement an effective system continues nationwide.
  • June 07 Financial background checks, usually referred to as credit history checks, can be an effective way to find out if a candidate is fit to handle accounts, financial data, and other assets at your business.
  • June 06 The Society for Human Resource Management and the Charles Koch Institute recently commissioned a survey to find out how willing employers were to hire people with criminal records. The study indicates that managers, HR professionals, and employees themselves are becoming more comfortable with the idea of hiring and working with ex-offenders.
  • June 04 Are fingerprint background checks the gold standard for employee screening, or are they overhyped? We look at some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding these checks.