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Still, there’s some debate about whether to return to the Washington County library system.
Zuleger said the looming benefit of switching back is to gain entry to the interlibrary loan system — a way of interchanging books from Minnesota’s libraries.
To make up for a lack of an interlibrary loan program, Renee Murray said when patrons request books that Lake Elmo doesn’t have, she’ll purchase them online and keep them in stock.
“The average library loan is pretty costly,” Murray said. “It can be around $25, where we spend a little over $10 just purchasing the books and keeping them here.”
Smith said the volunteers’ work has been phenomenal, but it’s not sustainable.
“I think the inevitable is that we’ll end up back in the Washington County library system,” she said. “I, for one, will be happy.
“Now we have a building. If they want to keep the books, the Washington County library system can come in and code them. There may be some compromise on the horizon.”
Andrew Krammer is a University of Minnesota student journalist on assignment for the Star Tribune.