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Saturday, December 11
10 am - 4 pm
Main Room opens at 11 am
Sunday, December 12
1 pm - 4 pm

Children's Books in K6
Bargain Books in K7

We seem to have more books than ever.  Room K6 has children's books, including picture books, school age fiction, award winners and books for parents and teachers, many for under $1.  Room K7 is the bargain room, where children's books are just 25 cents each, paperbacks are 50 cents, and hardcovers are $1.00.  Prices drop by half in the bargain room at 12:30 pm on Saturday and to just $5 for each grocery bag you fill (we supply the bags) at 2 pm.  These discounts also apply on Sunday.  Both rooms are in the K wing (see map).

Main Book Room Sale
In our main room, prices are also way below what used book stores charge.  Paperbacks are 50 cents and up, and hardcovers are $1.00 and up.  This room opens at 11 am on Saturday (one hour after the other rooms), but you can reserve your place in the line that forms by picking up one or two tickets as early as 8 am.  No ticket is needed to get in.

Featured items for December

Books on:
Aroma Therapy
Art * Ethnic Studies
Music * Needlework
Plays * Westerns

CDs * Videos
Great Gift Books
Holiday Knickknacks
Large Print Books
And much, much more!

4000 Middlefield Road
Palo Alto
Near the northwest end of the Cubberley Community Center

Room locations

More information on the sales
Donate your old books

All proceeds go to help Palo Alto libraries.

Library Closes for
The Palo Alto City Library will be closed from Monday, December 20 through Sunday, December 26 for Christmas and again from Friday, December 31 through Sunday, January 2 for New Year's.
Computer Reservations Now Running
The new software that allows your to reserve time on the public Internet stations is now running, after some initial technical difficulties.  More information.
Temporary Closure Update
The College Terrace branch will remain closed on Tuesdays indefinitely due to a staff absence.  The closure began on October 15.  Meanwhile, the branch is looking for a volunteer to conduct storytimes.
Library Annual Report
Read the library's new Annual Report for the fiscal year from July 2003 to June 2004.  The report gives information about the overall library system, the individual branches, and the budget.

We're always eager to hear your suggestions for ways to improve our book sale.  Please email them to us at or mention them to a volunteer at the sale.
Children's and Bargain Rooms to Open at 10 am

The elves who operate our Children's and Bargain Rooms (K6 and K7) have decided to open from now on at 10 am on Saturday (it used to be 9 am).  Given how hard all the elves work, we couldn't say no.  Both rooms are open until 4 pm on Saturday and then again from 1 to 4 pm on Sunday.

Bid on Another Inscribed Lemony Snicket Book
The Children's Room (K6) is holding a silent auction on Saturday, this time for The Grim Grotto ("more mysterious than the ocean and almost as deep"), the eleventh and latest in author Lemony Snicket's wonderful A Series of Unfortunate Events.  The book's inscription reads, "With all due respect."  The auction will end at 2 pm on Saturday, at which time the highest bidder can either pick up the book or receive it by mail after payment.

Great Gift Ideas for the Holiday

Be sure to look at all the tables of wonderful Hanukkah and Christmas gift books in the Main Booksale and Children's Rooms.  You can also purchase $5 gift certificates from any cashier to put in holiday cards or Christmas stockings for your book-loving friends and family.

A Free Way to Help the Libraries
Whenever you shop online for anything at or at Keplers (our largest local independent book seller), a percentage of your purchases will be donated to us if you start your shopping trip on our web pages.  Just click on the Amazon or Keplers links on the top right of any of our web pages, which are at  All the proceeds raised in this way go to help the library, and it costs you nothing.
Several Branches Threatened with Closure
For the fourth time in five years, the City is again considering closing library branches.  This time, as many as four branches could be affected.

In short, the City Manager will propose to the City Council on Monday, December 13, that the College Terrace and Downtown branches be closed no later than June 2007.  Meanwhile, he proposes to begin to plan and find funding for a "full-service" library somewhere in Palo Alto.  If that library were located at Mitchell Park, the Main Library would be closed as well, leaving no library facilities for adults in North Palo Alto whatsoever.  If instead the Main Library were the site for the "full-service" library, then the Mitchell Park branch would lose significant staff and other resources.  The result will be a two or three library system very different from the present set of five libraries spread across the town.

Branch closure has resurfaced this year because city finances are under pressure.  However, the Downtown and College Terrace branches actually cost very little to operate and are used a lot.  While the city has still not detailed the operating costs of the individual branches, only about 7% of the library's staff (and no higher-paid degreed librarians) work at these branches, which at the same time generated 10% of circulations and 16% of visits in the 2003-2004 fiscal year.  Closing branches that cost less than the usage they generate is not an efficient way to save money.  Furthermore, once these branches are shut down, it is extremely unlikely they would ever be opened again.

Other California cities affected by budget shortfalls have opted instead to reduce library hours or to cut extra services, or even to use volunteers to fill in.  With the exception of Salinas (which may have to shut down its entire library system), Palo Alto will apparently be the only city in California to have branch closures.  That will be quite a comedown for our city's prized college-town reputation.

Palo Alto also emphasizes walkable neighborhoods, which impart a small-town flavor while reducing car traffic and encouraging healthy biking and walking.  Our present library branch structure supports this concept, making it possible to visit and use a library without a trip across town.  Indeed, technology and interlibrary loans increasingly bring more resources to these branches, such that many residents find no need to visit a large, central facility at all.

The City's own Library Advisory Commission, which is separate from the City Manager, has opted to oppose the branch closure proposal, as has our own organization's board of directors.  Indeed, we are actively working with community groups and numerous residents to save the threatened libraries.

With the exception of the Terman Park branch, which was reclaimed by the school district, Palo Altans have successfully defeated all past attempts to close branches, dating back to the 1960s.  You can help keep the College Terrace and Downtown libraries open by e-mailing the City Council with your support for the branches.  Your e-mail will go to all nine City Council members, so it's an easy way to convey your opinion to them.  You can also attend the City Council meeting on Monday at 7 pm at City Hall (250 Hamilton Avenue).

For some background about the branch controversy, see these recent items from the December 8, 2004 Palo Alto Weekly:

Cover story: Out on a Limb?
Branch Comparison Chart [note: the College Terrace branch's hours were slightly longer when the data was collected]
Previous Attempts to Close the Branches
Editorial: End the Deadlock in Library Debate
Guest Opinion: Another Approach to Library Organization
Letter to the Editor: Why Branches Make Sense [fourth letter down]

Give the Gift That Keeps on Giving Holding
We are running short this month on paper grocery bags and would very much appreciate extras you would like to donate.  Please just bring the bags to the sale and give them to our volunteers at the entrance.
Have a Glorious Holiday Season
If we don't get a chance to say it to you personally at the sale this weekend, all of us at the Friends wish you a very joyous holiday season and New Year.  We hope you'll have some time during the holidays to actually read a few of the books you purchase from us and get good and rested in time for the January 2005 sale!

It has been a glorious year for us as well.  November's sale earned $19,151 overall, which is an incredible achievement for us.  Our sales over the last five months have averaged $15,400 each.  We wish to thank all of our wonderful customers, donors, volunteers, members, and supporters who together make our book sales possible.


This notice comes to you from the non-profit organization Friends of the Palo Alto Library.  No trees were felled in the making of this e-mail.  While the Better Business Bureau recommends that no more than 35% of a charitable organization's expenses be for management and fundraising expenses, ours were only 4.3% for our 2003-2004 fiscal year.  In other words, about 96% of the money we raised went to help the Palo Alto libraries.  Visit our web site.  Become a member by joining online.

Be sure to receive your own free copy of this e-mail notice so that you'll know about all special upcoming books sales.  To sign up, just e-mail us.  We carefully protect the privacy of your e-mail address.  We will not share your e-mail address with any other organization and we will not use it for any purpose other than to send you these notices.  If you do not wish to receive these e-mail notices in the future, please reply with the words "Remove Me" in the subject line.