The mission of The Martha Canfield Library is to be a vital hub of the community by providing a professional and welcoming environment where inquiring minds can discover and use resources for both the individual and collective pursuit of enjoyment, knowledge and enrichment.
On April 11, 1803, Nathan Canfield Jr. was one of 25 members of the newly formed Arlington Library Society.
In 1858, the Arlington Library Association was established, and operated out of a room in the old railroad station.
Records from 1897 to 1908 show that the Arlington Circulating Library was housed in the home of Martha Canfield. She was a member of the Canfield family, one of the original families in Arlington. Martha, known by all as "Miss Mattie", took over the library in 1885 and it was operated out of her living room in the brick house on Main Street, now known as the Arlington Community House.
After Martha's death in 1919, the library was carried on by the Library Committee of the Neighborhood Club and by Dorothy Canfield Fisher, a well-known writer and Martha's niece. She was the first woman elected to the Vermont State Board of Education, and the first woman to serve on the Book of the Month Club Committee of Selection.
The Martha Canfield Library was incorporated May 16th, 1937.
In 1948, Dorothy and John Fisher deeded the brick house to the Community Club with the provision that space was to be available to the library.
By the mid-1960's the space was inadequate, but it wasn't until 1995 that construction would begin on a new library building. The Martha Canfield Memorial Free Library opened its doors at the present site May 7, 1996.
Fifteen years later, the library was again being stretched to capacity and a reorganization of internal space was begun and will be completed in 2012.