In 1890, the will of millionaire Winsted clock manufacturer William L. Gilbert, a Northfield native, left to the Northfield Congregational Society $12,000, with the stipulation that $4000 be used for building a parsonage, which is still located on the green.
A room was to be devoted to a free library for Northfield, $5000. To be spent on books; and a $3000 endowment. At the time Northfield was without a library; earlier libraries had existed during the early nineteenth century to 1825 and from 1858 to 1874. A collection of books was accumulated using Gilbert's bequest which was moved into the front rooms of the parsonage when it was completed in 1896.
On Saturday, June 27, 1987, the people of Northfield saw their dream come true at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the library's new home. The building is located on 5 acres of land and is designed in a Greek Revival style. The library started with 150 books and has increased its collection of books available to 10,000.