The beginning of the Arlington Heights Memorial Library is traced to an 1887 meeting in the home of Mrs. Amos Walker, wife of the school principal. Inspired by the Chatauqua movement she and some of her friends determined to bring a touch of culture to a community, then named Dunton.
They organized a "ladies' reading circle" and began collecting books. The reading circle eventually became the Arlington Heights Woman's Club, and a small collection of books would grow into a public library.
In 1896, the Woman's Club determined that a public library should be established and opened one in the home of Miss Effie and Miss Lucy Shepard at 310 N. Dunton Avenue. This is only a few hundred feet from the present site of the library. The collection initially contained only 150 books. Miss Effie and Miss Lucy welcomed the public to their home two days a week for 15 years.
In 1909 the library was moved from their home to a small room in the school building on St. James Street, where it remained for eighteen years.
When an election finally made the library a true public library in 1926, the Arlington Heights Woman's Club turned over a collection of 1,600 volumes and $1,800 in cash to furnish library quarters in the Municipal Building.
In 1952 an 8,000-square-foot building was built solely for library purposes at 112 N. Belmont Avenue. The library was dedicated to the memory of the service men and women of the community and has been known as the "Memorial Library" ever since.
Rapid growth of the village made this building obsolete far sooner than anyone anticipated. Ultimately, more than 4,500 of the library's 58,357 volumes had to be stored elsewhere because there was no room for them in the library itself.
In June 1968, a new library was built at 500 N. Dunton Avenue with a federal grant and funds from a bond issue. The building was 40,000 square feet and was designed to hold 123,000 books. In subsequent years, citizens twice approved bonds to purchase books to meet the needs of the rapidly growing community.
In 1978, the library was expanded to 76,000 square feet.
Voters again gave their approval in 1992 for $8.9 million to build another 56,000-square foot addition and to renovate the original facility. The two-story addition was completed in 1994, bringing the total space of the library to 132,000 sq. ft.