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February 11
10 am - 4 pm
Main Room opens at 11 am
February 12
1 pm - 4 pm

Main Book Room Sale
In our main room, prices are way below what used book stores charge.  Paperbacks are 50 cents and up, and hardcovers are $1.00 and up.  Numbered tickets for the main room are given out beginning at 8 am on Saturday.  These reserve your place in the line that forms before the 11 am opening.  Each person may pick up one or two tickets.

Children's Books in K6
Room K6 in the K wing (see map) is entirely filled with children's books and toys.  You'll find picture books, school age fiction, award winners, non-English titles, and books for parents and teachers, many for under $1.  This room and the bargain room open at 10 am.

Bargain Books in K7
Next door in K7 is the bargain room, where paperbacks are 50 cents, hardcovers are $1.00, and children's books are just 25 cents each.  Pay just half of that in the bargain room after 12:30 pm on Saturday and all day on Sunday.  On Sunday, you can also buy grocery bags in the bargain room for $5 and fill them with books.

Featured topics for February:

Being Affectionate
Healthy Hearts
Hearts in Art
Love and Lovers
Love Songs
Poetry Romance
Romantic Getaways
Seductive Foods
Strong Marriages
Wild Flings
And various books for the unromantic too!

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.

Closes for Presidents' Day
All Palo Alto public libraries will be closed on Monday, February 20 for the Presidents' Day holiday.
Library Director to Leave in July
Library Director Paula Simpson will be stepping down in July to move to Seattle with her husband.  In the meantime, she'll continue to help the Library Advisory Commission develop their recommendations for Palo Alto's library system.  Simpson came to Palo Alto from the Monterey Public Library in 2004.  Palo Alto Weekly article.
Non-Profit Book Giveaway
Non-profit organizations and schools that need free books should come to the Bargain Room this month from 4 to 6 pm on Sunday the 12th.  More information.

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.
Reference Works for Sale
Some spectacular reference works are for sale this month.  We have a 1967 through 1989 Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Contemporary Authors with all 147 (!) volumes for $225, although there are no indexes for the final years.  We also have the 1981 New Revision Series of Contemporary Authors in 48 volumes.  If you want older biographies, we have a complete 40 volume Dictionary of National Biography published in 1894 for $500.  For more modern information, try the 1998 Encyclopedia of World Biography in 17 volumes for $50.  These large sets are in different locations in the Main Book room, so please ask a volunteer for assistance.  In our Reference section this month, you'll find tons of dictionaries, including one from 1930, quotation guides, almanacs, and atlases.
January Booksale Not Dampened by Rain
Amazingly, the heavy downpour during our January sale did not stop people from coming and finding the many great bargains we had.  Instead, the sale raised an incredible $21,801, which is 9% above our previous record back in August 2005.  In fact, January's sale brought in as much as we used to receive in an entire year back in the mid 1990s.  Thanks go to all of our customers, volunteers, and donors for a fantastic sale.
You Say Customer, and I Say Visitor
Since Palo Alto loves surveys (see two articles below), here's one of our own.  Three recent letters in Palo Alto newspapers have discussed what to call people who go to the library.  "Patron" used to be the standard, but now other terms are being proposed.  We thought you might want to say what you prefer to be called, so vote for your favorite by pressing the appropriate button below.  Additional votes from the same person won't be counted.  Results will be reported next month, but are not intended to be scientific.

I want to be called a library ...


Library Gets More Online Books
122 more titles have been added to Palo Alto's collection of online books, bringing the total to over 800 books, plus 800 more in audio format.  You download these books and then read or listen to them from your home, office, school, or portable computer.  For instance, if you are going on a trip and bringing a laptop computer, you can download several books onto your laptop to take with you.  One advantage of online books is that you never need worry about returning them, because they automatically "expire" on the due date.  You also can't lose or damage them.  The online collection includes many fiction titles, study aids, and books on business, travel, biography, health and fitness, computers, technology, and self-improvement.
Volunteers Worked Hard
in 2005
The booksale takes an enormous effort to run, and we want to thank the 140 or so volunteers who help sort, price, shelve, and sell the quarter million or so books we handle each year.  In 2005, our booksale and other volunteers worked an amazing 26,557 hours, sometimes during early mornings on their way to work or late into the evening.
Much-Awaited Library Survey Results Released
The library released yesterday the results of a $35,000 study of Palo Altans' view of the city's library system.  600 randomly-chosen residents were asked how they used the library, what new services they'd like to see, and their views on the importance of a central library versus branches.  When asked which opinion of libraries they most agreed with:
18% felt that the Palo Alto city library facilities are outdated and their collections and services no longer meet needs,
56% believed that although Palo Alto residents for the most part are adequately served by their city library, there is some room for improvement,
17% felt that Palo Alto is well served by the current library and no changes are required, and
8% couldn't choose or didn't respond.
The study was commissioned by the city's Library Advisory Commission as part of its process to create recommendations for library improvements.  The Godbe Research firm conducted the survey and will present its results at a special Library Advisory Commission meeting on Thursday, February 9 at 7 pm at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Avenue.
See the raw survey results, Palo Alto Weekly article, and San Jose Mercury editorial.
City Services Survey Gives Library High Marks
A separate annual survey from the City Auditor's office asks Palo Altans about all municipal services, including the library.  The 2005 City of Palo Alto Citizen Survey results were released this week and show that:
80% of Palo Altans rate our overall libraries as good or excellent,
75% feel the variety of library materials is good or excellent, and
78% rate our neighborhood branch libraries as good or excellent.
These statistics are approximately the same as the year before.

Just 7% of those surveyed rated the neighborhood branch libraries as poor and only 5% said the overall libraries were poor.  Other cities in the United States that use the same survey also found generally high praise for libraries.  As a result, Palo Alto's high marks for its libraries overall ranked only in the 62nd percentile, meaning that libraries in more than a third of the other cities received higher ratings.  However, Palo Alto's ranking moved up significantly from last year, when it was only in the 40th percentile.  The variety of our library materials also now ranks in the 62nd percentile, up from the 38th percentile last year.

79% of survey participants used the library or its services at least once a year and 25% visited more than 12 times a year.  Non-residents account for 20% of library circulation.

The City Auditor also compared our libraries to how they operated in years past.  For example, the libraries are open 19% fewer hours than five years ago, while the library budget has kept up approximately with inflation over that period and the number of staff has stayed the same.  Circulation increased by 31% (partly due to a shorter lending period) and library visits increased by 20% over that same five year period.  For more information, see the Auditor's Report and the Survey Details.
Upcoming Library Meetings
You can learn more about upcoming library issues and proposals at the following meetings:
February 9: Library Advisory Commission Special Meeting to review the library survey results.  This and the other Library Advisory Commission meetings below begin at 7 pm at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Avenue.
February 23: Library Advisory Commission Regular Meeting to discuss findings and identify "service model elements" for the upcoming recommendations to the City Council.
March 2: PAGE (Palo Altans for Government Effectiveness) will continue a public discussion of various library models and their tradeoffs at 7 pm at the Garden Court Hotel, 520 Cowper Street.  This meeting is a follow-up of one held in early February.
March 9: Library Advisory Commission Special Meeting with a possible panel of other librarians to discuss trends and best practices in public libraries.
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 2.9% for our 2004-2005 fiscal year.  In other words, about 97% of the money we raised went to help Palo Alto Library users.  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.