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February 14

9 am - 12:30 pm
Bargain Room Sale

Be sure to check out the latest books here, with some incredible bargains.  All children's books are just 25 cents each, paperbacks are 50 cents, and hardcovers are $1.00.  See the map for the exact location of the room.

11 am - 4 pm
Regular Sale

You'll find books on every topic in the world among the 40,000 items in our regular book room, with prices way below what used book stores charge.  Paperbacks are 50 cents and up, and hardcovers are $1.00 and up.  

Featured sales books for February include:

Wonderful gifts for Valentine's Day
(at lovable prices)

Art books * Fantasy
Poetry * Romance
CDs * Records
Gift Certificates

Plus: Business Books
Computer Science
Science * Science Fiction
And much, much more!

12:30 pm - 2 pm
Bargain Room Half Price Sale

During the middle of the day, all books in room E5 are half-priced.  Be sure to come over after you visit the regular sale.

2 pm - 4 pm
Bargain Room $5 a Bag Sale

After 2 pm, all books in E5 are sold by the bag.  You can fill as many grocery bags as you want at $5 each.  We supply the grocery bags.

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

Room location

More information on the sales
Donate your old books

All proceeds go to help Palo Alto libraries.

City Survey and Auditor Looks at Libraries
Palo Alto's City Auditor recently published the results of a 1,200 person survey that rates various city services.  81% of the survey respondents who expressed an opinion on the Palo Alto libraries felt that they were either excellent or good.  Similarly, 77% thought that the variety of library material was either excellent or good and 73% rated the branch libraries as highly.  These are not, however, exceptional scores.  The first two questions have also been asked in many other U.S. cities, and Palo Alto's ratings are slightly below the national averages.

The survey also found that 31% of Palo Altans used the libraries or their services more than 12 times during the year.

The City Auditor compared Palo Alto's library costs and activities to those of neighboring cities, finding that Palo Alto spends more per capita on its libraries than our immediate neighbors, but less than Burlingame and Berkeley.  Library visits in Palo Alto have risen by 20% over the last five years to 905,248 for 2002-2003 while per capita expenditures have risen 15%, total hours open have declined slightly, and the number of reference questions asked have dropped by 19% down to 88,759 per year.  Family program attendance at libraries has surged by 36% from five years ago, with 33,625 people attending some 517 separate library events offered during the 2002-2003 year.  We're very pleased that the Friends of the Palo Alto Library sponsors  many of these events, using funds raised from memberships, donations, and our booksales.

Full text of survey and audit (163 pages)

Libraries Closed for President's Birthday
All Palo Alto libraries will be closed on Monday, February 16 for President's Day.
"Take a Number" Is Now Official 

After two months of great success, we're happy to announce that the tickets to reserve places in line for early arrivers are now permanent.   If you arrive before 10:45 am at our main sale room, be sure to get a numbered ticket at the door.  We start handing these out at 8 am.  With your ticket, you can then go off to our bargain room or to relax, but please return by 10:45 am to claim your spot in the line.  If you arrive after 10:45 am, you don't need a ticket, and you can just join the regular line.  By the way, the line moves very quickly, so you'll find plenty of books to buy whether you come early or not.

New Booksale Rooms to Debut in March

We are planning to expand our booksale into two rooms in the Cubberley Community Center K wing in time for the March sale.  We'll still have the main sale room as well, but we'll be moving out of the E5 bargain room, which is further away.  This will give us a total of 5,300 square feet of space at Cubberley, all within an easy walk.  We'll give you more details about the hours, location, and organization for the new rooms in our next newsletter and on our web site.

Library Lover's Month
February is Library Lover's month in Palo Alto, and that's official!  Mayor Bern Beecham has signed a proclamation this month urging "everyone to visit our libraries and thank a librarian for making this unique and wonderful institution possible."  To show how much we all love libraries, please send your library a Valentine's Day card, which will be posted in that library.  You can send an electronic card right now just by completing this simple form:

Choose a look for your card:


Choose a destination:

Fill in your message:

Sign your card:

You can also just drop off your own card at your local library or send one by mail (click here for library addresses).

The mayor's proclamation also asks people to support the libraries by becoming a member of the Friends of the Palo Alto Library.  You can join online right now or by using the forms available at all libraries.

New Palo Alto Library Director Nominated

Paula Simpson, currently the Library Director of the Monterey Public Library, has been nominated to become Palo Alto's new Library Director, a position vacant since Mary Jo Levy retired in 2002.  If the City Council votes in early March to appoint Paula, she could begin to serve as early as March 22.  Paula earned a master's degree in library science from the University of Minnesota and has worked in libraries in Oregon, Indiana and Illinois.  We're all looking forward to meeting Paula and welcoming her to Palo Alto.  See city press release.

Peter Milward, 1921-2003

Peter Milward, a booksale volunteer for several years, died unexpectedly on December 21 of last year at the age of 82.  Peter's wife and fellow volunteer Marion MacGillivray recalls that Peter thoroughly enjoyed his work at the Friends of the Palo Alto Library sales.  In recent months, he was a cashier at the bargain room, usually in the morning, but sometimes in the afternoon.  We will all miss him enormously, and extend our sympathies to his family and friends.

Federal Budget Includes $100,000 for Children's Library

Recent federal legislation signed into law on January 23 provides $100,000 for renovations and restoration of the Palo Alto Children’s Library.  Last year, Congress awarded $90,000 in funds to the project.  The design for the renovated and expanded library will commence in the next few months, with construction anticipated to begin in early 2005.  See Palo Alto City Government Press Release and more about the Children's Library project.

Booksales Benefit Local Poor and Homeless

Our booksales not only distribute books at low prices to our customers while raising funds for the libraries, but we also supply many books to those who cannot afford to buy them.  We do this through non-profit agencies that target disadvantaged populations.  One such organization is the Urban Ministry, which provides the local poor and homeless population not only with free food, but with free books as well.

Each month, Friends of the Palo Alto Library volunteer Marian Knox takes unsold books from our E5 bargain room over to a shelf at the downtown Urban Ministry Food Closet, where she volunteers as well.  The Food Closet provides free resources to about 75 people each weekday, and the paperbacks are very popular items.  Shirley Reiter, who has worked at the Urban Ministry for over seven years, estimates that the program gives away over 5,000 books each year. 

The most highly-prized books include thrillers and romance novels.  Food Closet patron Robin Collins says she enjoys reading the classics, such as Shakespeare, Twain, Dickens, Woolf, and Fitzgerald.  Patron Malcolm Hammons says he likes mysteries and suspense novels, including Poe and Stephen King.

Reiter points out that homeless people have a lot of time on their hands while waiting for meals and shelters.  Books from the Friends of the Palo Alto Library help fill that time and provide enjoyment as well.

New Library Advisory Commission Members

This week, the Palo Alto City Council appointed three new members to the seven-seat Library Advisory Commission, which advises the Council on library matters.  The new commissioners are Sanford Forte, a director and founder of non-profits involved in community networking and education, Genevieve Gerard, a high-tech marketing manager and consultant, and John Stucky, the librarian of the San Francisco Asian Art Museum since 1994.  We look forward to working with them.  The new commissioners will serve for three-year terms and replace three others who chose not to reapply for the positions.

This notice comes to you from the non-profit organization Friends of the Palo Alto Library.  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 2.4% for our 2002-2003 fiscal year.  In other words, about 98% 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.