USED BOOK SALES
10 am - 4 pm
Main Room opens at 11 am
1 pm - 4 pm
Auction preview 10:30 am - 1:30 pm
Auction begins at 2 pm in K5
Featured topics for May:
Biography • Business
European Art • Fiction
History • Linguistics
Psychology • Science
Travel • Woodworking
Vintage LP Albums:
Opera, Show Tunes,
and Jazz Wurlitzer
And over 50,000 other items
4000 Middlefield Road
Northwest corner of the Cubberley Community Center
More information on the sales
Donate your old books
All proceeds go to help Palo Alto libraries.
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 on
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.
Library Closed for Memorial Day
Palo Alto's libraries will be closed on Monday, May 29 for Memorial Day. Even
when the libraries are closed, you can still
search the online
reference desk questions,
access many online resources, and
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, May 14.
Police Station Will Not Replace Downtown Library
Palo Alto's Police Building Blue Ribbon Task Force voted unanimously on April 19
to drop the Downtown Library as a possible location for a new police station.
Community members and the Friends of the Palo Alto Library had raised many
concerns about tearing down the branch. The existing library building has
many mature trees, pleasant courtyards, and a design praised by members of the
city's own Architectural Review Board.
In both 1999 and 2000, the City also considered replacing the Downtown
Library by a police station, but eventually focused on other sites after community outcry. See
Weekly article and our
|We're always eager to hear your suggestions for ways to
improve our book sale. Please email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or mention them to a volunteer at the sale.
|Book Auction on Sunday|
We have over 100 wonderful books to auction off this Sunday at 2 pm.
Many of these are first editions, antiquarian items, or inscribed by the
author. You'll be able to preview all auction books from 10:30 am on Sunday
until 1:30 pm in room K5, which is right next to our Children's Room in K6.
The auction will be held in room K5 as well. See the full
list of books, which
you may bid by email if you can't attend the auction.
Peek at our Bookshelves
See some of the interesting books we've recently received and get a head start on this weekend's booksale by clicking
Bring Bags and Donations
Please support our booksale by donating your spare paper grocery bags. You can
give these to our volunteers as
you enter the Main Room on the north side. You can also donate books,
DVDs, video tapes, CDs, and other items at the same time and ask for a receipt.
Library Circulation is Tops
Palo Altans use their libraries more than people in other comparably-sized cities in California. According to
a just-released State
report, Palo Alto ranks first among 26 cities with populations of 50,000 to 70,000 in
items circulated per capita during 2004-2005. Palo Alto ranked second in library visits per
capita only to Cerritos, which recently expanded its library. Palo
Alto also runs a close second in books per capita, being edged out by Palos Verdes.
Even with the Children's Library closed, things look good for our standings in
2005-2006 as well, since the
library reports that circulation is up at all branches for the first months
of this year.
Library Proposal Draws Comments
At three community meetings held so far across Palo Alto, dozens of
residents have asked questions and voiced opinions about the Library
Advisory Commission's newly proposed
long-term library plan.
The draft plan contemplates constructing
a new combination "full-service" library and community center with
underground parking at Mitchell Park, replacing the present buildings but
not extending into the park. Several meeting participants spoke in
favor of the proposed new building while others called for preserving the
present library or just expanding it. The new facility would be
smaller than the 71,500 square foot Mitchell Park project proposed in 2002
as part of Measure D. That measure, which would have also
substantially expanded the Children's Library and freed up funds to improve
the Art Center, received 61.5% of the vote, falling shy of the 2/3 margin
needed for passage.
The Commission's new plan goes further than
Measure D by proposing significant expansion of library hours, community
outreach, technology services, and staff training. Cost estimates are
not yet available, in part because the Commission is first hoping to gauge
support at the conceptual level. However, some attendees expressed
concern about the high cost and concern over getting 2/3 of voters to
approve it. Library construction costs have also risen considerably
faster than inflation since 2002.
Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the plan is that it would "scale
back collections and services" at other branches to narrow their focus.
For example, the Children's Library would focus less on grades 4 and 5, the
College Terrace and Downtown branches would lose reference and other
materials, and the Main Library would concentrate more on research.
Consistent with their diminished scope, the Main Library would be renamed
the Newell or E. D. Stone Branch, and the Downtown Library would become the
Forest Branch. A number of attendees perceived these changes as
diminishing the four North Palo Alto libraries, and commissioners expressed
some openness to reworking these parts of the plan.
questioned whether a new Mitchell Park library would prove expensive to
operate and precipitate closing or shrinking other branches, something the
Commission, City Manager, and library staff have recommended in previous
years. Commissioners responded that they felt the plan strengthened
the branches, but acknowledged they had not recommended that the City
Council work in a guarantee of branch continuity.
To learn more, read the
draft plan online. You can also attend the Wednesday, May 10
upcoming Library Advisory Commission Thursday meetings on May 14 and May 28
at City Hall, or the Monday May 18 City Council meeting that will discuss
the draft plan, also at City Hall. All four meetings begin at 7 pm.
You can also email comments to the
commission or to
Try Our Book Group
|Here's what our book group will be reading over the coming year, as chosen
at their meeting last month. The group
meets from 7:30 to 9 pm on the second Thursday of every month at the Lucie Stern
Community Center Fireside Room at 1305 Middlefield Road. Click on any
title to read more it:
Using radio tags to help automate the Palo Alto Library does not appear to be cost-effective,
according to data in a recently-completed $45,000
The idea was to put a tiny radio device, known as RFID or Radio Frequency
Identification tags, in every book, DVD, and other library item. This would simplify checkout,
as the radio tags would automatically communicate with the checkout machine rather than your having to scan each book.
The radio tags would also serve as security devices by triggering an alert
if taken from the library without being checked out. Most importantly,
the radio tags would save 1,805 to 3,610 staff hours per year
when used with equipment that automatically checks returned items back in and then sorts them onto carts for reshelving.
Check-in is typically handled now by Palo Alto library staff who
earn $15 per hour (including benefits) and by volunteers, so the annual
savings would be at most $54,150. However, the estimated annual maintenance costs for the RFID tags and
associated equipment is at least $153,000. Hence, switching to RFID
tags would likely create a deficit each year instead of generating savings.
It would thus be impossible to recoup the $1,223,000 or higher initial investment
required for the tags, equipment, and installation. There
would also be no actual savings to fund other library
These findings mirror a 2004
in Library Journal, which notes that RFID is "seductive" but found that, "No published studies yet exist
presenting quantifiable evidence that RFID provides greater gains than
Palo Alto's study evaluated putting resorting
equipment into each Palo Alto library branch, although that is probably impractical at the smaller
ones. It also priced out trucking books to a shared rented facility, sorting
them there, and then shipping them back to each branch. The latter
option turns out to
be more expensive, especially as an error in the report
understated the annual rent by $176,000.
The ACLU and other
organizations have raised concerns that RFID tags on library books permit a
determined third-party to discover which titles you check out. One
such scenario would use radio equipment to detect the tags in your home and
then match those up against the books once returned to the library.
The study discounts these privacy concerns, noting that RFID tags can be
read from "typically no greater than two feet," but this applies only
to tag readers used by libraries themselves, and not to equipment intended
to violate privacy.
The Palo Alto City Council
funded the study, which was conducted by RMG Consultants of Chicago. The Council also set aside
$600,000 for RFID implementation, which remains available for future projects.