The RiverShare Library consortium is based on a long-history of library cooperation in the Illinois and Iowa Quad Cities. In 1966, local libraries formed Quad City Libraries in Cooperation (Quad-LINC) to share items and offer interlibrary lending to each other's patrons.


The 1967 Illinois Library System Act established library systems, including the River Bend Library System in Coal Valley, IL. Library systems promoted the sharing of library resources through delivery and automation services.


The Quad City system was an early and unique model of cooperation across state lines. RiverBend provided services to a mix of public, academic, and special-purpose libraries from the Iowa Quad Cities and the Illinois counties of Bureau, Henry, Rock Island, and Whiteside. In 1986, this group introduced the computerized Quad-LINC catalog, which made it easier to search the holdings of member libraries. In March 2004, the text-based catalog system was enhanced with an upgrade to a web-based SIRSI catalog.


In 2004, Illinois Library Systems started a process of consolidation, beginning  with the merger of RiverBend, Heritage Trail and Rolling Prairie Library Systems. Known as the Prairie Area Library System (PALS) the system renamed the Quad-LINC catalog to Prairie Cat in 2007. Further consolidation created the Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) in 2009.


With the additional pressures on this statewide system, several local libraries realized they faced the potential loss of cross-state library material sharing and delivery. To maintain the unique Quad City character of wide-spread reciprocal borrowing, 20 area libraries returned to a more local computer system, forming RiverShare Libraries in 2011.The local, vendor-hosted alternative allowed RiverShare Libraries to assume more control over catalog updates and material distribution.


The RiverShare catalog debuted on November 2, 2011, with a member network of three university libraries, three community college libraries, and 14 public libraries representing 30 separate locations. Members share costs for the automation system and delivery to and from Iowa, allowing the Quad Cities to maintain its unique custom of sharing materials across state lines. Illinois libraries receive additional delivery support through RAILS.

In July, 2016, the Illinois libraries re-joined the library system in Illinois. RiverShare Libraries now consists of over 17 area library locations that RiverShare patrons can use to locate and borrow materials.