The Richmond Heights Public Library was established in 1933 with a $16 gift from the disbanding Lion's Club. Various churches and civic organizations donated approximately 1,800 books, and room was provided at City Hall to house the new library. A clerk was furnished by the federal government under the Work Projects Administration (WPA), one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal agencies founded to help the country out of the Great Depression.
In 1934, the Library's Board of Trustees was established, and the trustees elected John P. Wentworth as the Board's first president. One year later, Mrs. Marquerite Norville was employed as the first librarian.
The Library continued to grow, and was moved to a larger area on the main floor of City Hall in 1935. The following year the first assistant librarian, Miss Edna L. Amend, was the added to the staff. Throughout the World War II years the Library expanded and offered new services, acquiring more space as the need arose. In 1949 Mrs. Norville resigned and Miss Amend was appointed Head Librarian in 1950.
In 1962 the existing library space was remodeled and a portion of the former city garage, located in the basement at City Hall, was converted into a nonfiction room.
In 1970 two homes located east of the new firehouse (located at 7449 Dale Avenue) were purchased to make way for a new library building. On October 10th, 1972, voters approved a $350,000 bond issue to finance construction and operation of the new Library. One year later, on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the city of Richmond Heights, ground was broken. A September 16, 1974 resolution by the Board of Trustees renamed the facility the Richmond Heights Memorial Library. The building was thus dedicated on Memorial Day, May 26th, 1975.
The Library became affiliated with the Municipal Library Cooperative of St. Louis County in 1969. In 1996 this organization became the Municipal Library Consortium of St. Louis County comprised of eight independent municipal libraries sharing an automated circulation system and computerized public catalog.
After 33 years as Director Miss Edna Amend retired in 1983, and was replaced as Library Director by Nicholas Niederlander. Under Mr. Niederlander's directorship the first Children's Librarian was added to the staff and in 1997 Internet access and a variety of online reference sources were introduced. In that same year planning began for a new facility which would became the Library's third home.
After holding the position for sixteen years, Nicholas Niederlander moved on to a new position as Library Director in Two Rivers, Wisconsin in September, 1999.
Jeanette Piquet accepted the position of Library Director in March of 2000, coming to Richmond Heights from St. Louis Public Library. Ms. Piquet oversaw the completion of the new Library facility and in November of that year the Library moved into its new home at THE HEIGHTS: Richmond Heights Community Center and Memorial Library. The Library opened for business December 3rd with greatly expanded collections and services in a much larger 13,000 square foot facility. The Library's first webpage was created in December 2001 by Margo Winfrey, Library Systems Administrator. Services now include a separate Children's Library with more programming for youngsters, twelve Internet workstations featuring high-speed connections to the vast resources of the World Wide Web, public computers alsohttp://www.rhml.lib.mo.us/about.htm offer access to electronic reference databases, office applications software and learning software in the form of games for preschoolers through young adults. The Library offers reference assistance, computer instruction as well as reading and study areas that are bright, comfortable and welcoming.
Public Wi-Fi access is the newest addition to our services. Access is available in the Library as well as in the atrium of the Community Center.
In 2005 the Friends of the Richmond Heights Memorial Library was formed.
Our on-going success shows every day. Tax dollars have been put to good use and patrons have put their library to work. More than 50% of Richmond Heights' residents are active Library card holders. Over the last five years circulation has increased more than 150% .
The Library Board and staff are dedicated to providing the best possible library, keeping abreast of the fast pace of technologies, while always remaining Richmond Heights' own community lending library.