LITTLE ROCK, Pulaski County — Avid readers woke up to an email with a big change from the Central Arkansas Library System on Tuesday.

CALS will start charging North Little Rock patrons to use services that used to be free for them.

"I wanted to build up an argument against it, but in reality, I understand,” said Cas Rifkin, North Little Rock woman.

If you take a peek inside Rifkin’s home, books fill many shelves because reading is her hobby.  

But as technology expands, she often reads audio books now from her local library, the Laman Library, and Central Arkansas Library Services.

CALS announced the changes coming March 1, which will require North Little Rock patrons to pay a $54 annual fee.

"Historically, anyone who lives and works in Pulaski or Perry County is eligible for a card," said Tameka Lee, CALS spokesperson. “Now, what we are wanting to do is make things more equitable for people supporting CALS through taxes."

North Little Rock residents’ tax dollars do not support CALS. Instead, those dollars go to Laman Library.

The change comes as prices for E-Books and Digital Resources have climbed.

Rifkin said she's not worried about meeting the need to keep her CALS card, but worries for others who can’t.

"There's a lot of people who aren't as lucky and don't have those resources to pick out $54 more a year,” said Rifkin.

Before coming to this decision, CALS was in conversation with Laman Library to possibly merge. However, that did not work out.  

The annual fee is effective March 1 for new patrons, but CALS is allowing a six-month grace period for people who already have a card to make a decision.

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