The Richmond Hill Library Association formed in 1852 under the provisions of the previous year's provincialAn Act respecting Library Associations and Mechanics Institutes. The Library Association marged itself with the local Mechanics Institute in 1858. In 1870, the two organizations split over a disagreement about the user fees, which the Library Association did not support but the Mechanics Institute did.
By the end of the 19th century, it was transformed to an organization that did not require membership fee. The New Richmond Hill District Public Library, with a collection of 5,000 books, was established in the new Masonic Hall on Yonge Street.
Library cards are issued without charge to individuals who live, work, study or pay land taxes in the town of Richmond Hill, or in the communities within the York Public Libraries Network (YPLN), which includes Aurora, Markham, Newmarket, and Vaughan. Replacement cards are issued at the cost of $2. If the card is damaged or worn out, the card will be replaced for free. To obtain an adult library card, a valid piece of I.D. with name and current address is required. However, RHPL does accept student card and Transit I.D. for students aged 13 to 17. Memberships expire annually. However, members are required to verify their information and pay any outstanding fees.