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November 11
10 am - 4 pm
Main Room opens at 11 am

November 12
1 pm - 4 pm

Featured topics for November:

Biographies Christmas Crafts
Classics Cooking Dinosaurs
Fiction Flying
Foreign Language
Military History
Naval Historical Fiction
Political Science Postcards
And over 50,000 other items

4000 Middlefield Road
Palo Alto
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 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 Saturday.
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.

Another Way to Enjoy the Booksale
If you enjoy the booksale and want to help raise more funds for Palo Alto libraries, consider volunteering.  Many of our volunteers aren't even from Palo Alto, but just enjoy the energy and camaraderie of the sale.  Plus, there are free refreshments and other perks.
You needn't volunteer during the sale weekend itself.  Instead, you can come at any convenient time for you throughout each month to organize and price books behind-the-scenes in our three rooms.  This is a wonderful way to utilize some of your experience in various fields and with books.  You'll also enjoy meeting and working alongside all our wonderful book-loving volunteers.
For more information, please call (650) 213-8755 or (650) 325-9483.
Support the Libraries by Holiday Shopping
If you can't find something at our booksale and end up buying it at, you can still help our libraries.  Just start your Amazon sessions by clicking here or on the Amazon link on the top right of any of our web pages at  Amazon will donate a percentage of your purchases to us, which we give to the library.  You pay no surcharge!  It's a free way to help our libraries.
Palo Alto Baby Boomers Like Libraries
Because 80% of Palo Alto baby boomers indicate they don't want to move away as they age, the city expects to become an "older" town, with those over 55 constituting some 40% of the population.  To determine the interest and needs of local baby boomers, who are those born between 1946 and 1964, the city's Community Services Department recently ran a non-scientific survey of several hundred.  Out of eleven choices, those Palo Alto baby boomers cited "education and libraries" as the top city service they presently use and as also the one most personally valuable to them.  Approximately one in four of respondents listed "education and libraries" as where new city services were needed, ranking it behind transportation and health and fitness opportunities (multiple responses were allowed). Read the full city study.
Library Closed for Holidays
Palo Alto's libraries will be closed on Friday, November 10 for Veteran's Day.  The libraries will also close early at 6 pm on Wednesday, November 22 for Thanksgiving eve, and all Thursday and Friday, November 23 and 24.  Even when the libraries are closed, you can still search the online catalog, submit reference desk questions, access many online resources, and get book recommendations.
Children's Library Monster?
What's that odd woolly monster doing in the new Children's Library?  We thought it might be a giant bookworm hungry for books to consume, but it's actually rolled-up straw that goes outside and directs rainwater away from the building.  Whew!
The Children's Library is current scheduled to reopen in September 2007.  In the meantime, see more photographs of the latest activity.  Photo credit: Barbara Silberling.
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, November 12.  Please bring grocery bags to put books into.  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.
Sale Offers Great Courses on Tape
Although you may come to our sale for books, sale manager Marty Paddock points out that one of our most exciting bargains are the college courses on tape we offer from the Teaching Company.  For just $30, you can get the video tape version of Human Prehistory and the First Civilizations, which sells on new DVDs for $200.  Popular lecturer Robert Greenberg's How to Listen to and Understand Opera comes on sixteen audio tapes for just $12, versus $65 new, while the audio tape version of How to Read and Understand Poetry goes for $15, far less than the original $130 price.  If these don't seem like bargains, consider taking the video tape course Economics: An Introduction for just $45.  You'll find all our courses on tapes across from travel books as you enter our Main Room.
Window Shop on Your Computer
Click here to see some of the shelves at this weekend's sale
Check out our shelf preview pictures to see thousands of the books for sale this weekend.
Friends Give $169,000 to Library
The Friends of the Palo Alto Library are giving $169,000 to the Palo Alto City Library to expand the library collection and provide numerous programs and events throughout the year. The funds were raised from many donors, members, volunteers, and booksale customers.
Palo Altans are among the top library users in the state, checking out about 1.3 million items annually, and are clearly eager for even more.  Accordingly, the Friends are enhancing the library's collection by providing approximately $50,000 to triple the number purchased of audio books on CDs, $25,000 for extra copies of high-demand titles to reduce hold time, $30,000 for other books, $20,000 for DVDs, and $10,000 for additional online resources.  These grants add 23% to the city's current collection budget, putting Palo Alto at the very top in collection spending among similar-sized California cities.
Palo Alto's Library Director Diane Jennings says, "This year, as in past years, the grants awarded by the Friends are contributing greatly to the Library's ability to meet the demand for quality collections."  Jennings notes, "An excellent collection provides the foundation for our service, and I thank the Friends for their generous support of it."
The Friends are also continuing their long-time support of library programs, providing approximately $9,000 for children's events in the library, another $9,000 for the summer reading program for children and teens, $6,500 for adult and family events, up to $7,500 for the Palo Alto Reads community program, and $2,000 for library staff appreciation.  The Friends provide additional monies throughout the year to the library for technology and have donated over $1.1 million since mid-2004.
Among the sources for the funding are a Cable Co-op Legacy Grant and the efforts of more than 150 volunteers.  Over a quarter million used books, DVDs, CDs, and other items are donated to the Friends each year for its Cubberley Community Center-based monthly booksale, one of the most successful of its kind in the nation.
Library Reports High Usage
Palo Alto Library usage remains very high, according to the library's Annual Report for the fiscal year 2005-2006.  The library anticipated a possible decline because the Children's Library is closed for renovation and expansion and loan times increased this past year for most items from three weeks to four.  Instead, the number of visits rose to 885,565, about 1% higher than the previous fiscal year, while the number of items checked out was virtually unchanged at 1,280,547.
Some 21,227 new books and 5,822 new media items were purchased for the library collection, up 38% overall from the prior year.  The library's annual budget itself rose almost 16% to $5.9 million.
Library patrons nationwide are using technology more and that trend shows up throughout Palo Alto's statistics.  The number of holds, placed primarily through the library's website, more than doubled from the prior year to 181,765.  About 84% of checkouts in the Main and Mitchell Park libraries were made at self-check machines.  Internet sessions on library computers (exclusive of laptops) rose 36% over the prior year to 155,558.  993,139 remote catalog searches were conducted, up 40%.  And with more people using the Internet, reference and research inquiries of library staff declined by 10% to 123,518.
The closure in Children's Library was perhaps responsible for a small decline in library program attendance to 30,739.  Fewer people also volunteered in the libraries, reducing the number of volunteer hours by 23% to 5,838.
The report also lists some current efforts, including:
Work on the City Council-directed plan to improve the library system (see article below)
Improvements at the Main and Downtown libraries to create more public space
Completion of the teen areas at the Main and Mitchell Park libraries
Redesign of the library's website
Providing recommendations to the Council on technology improvements, including possible access to Link+
City performance audit of the library operations
The report is available at all library branches and online.
Council to Review Library Plan in December
A proposal to improve Palo Alto libraries will likely come to the City Council on December 4 and 11, almost two years after the Council directed its Library Advisory Commission to define a new vision for the city-wide system.  The Council is considering funding the plan through a June 2008 ballot measure, with a year-long architectural design and environmental impact study to occur prior to that.
The Library Advisory Commission's proposal incorporates a projection that the city's population will increase by about 1/3 over the next few decades, creating more users for the Mitchell Park Library.  Based on that, library design expert Kathy Page calculated recently that the branch needs to triple in size to at least 28,500 square feet.  Moving in the library's Technical Services and Administration offices will require additional space.  The Group 4 architectural firm found that replacing the existing library by a new building on the southwest end of the site will likely be the most cost-effective configuration and might avoid triggering expensive underground parking.  It would also align the driveway entering the complex with Mayview Avenue on the other side of Middlefield Road, eliminating a traffic signal, and perhaps allowing the existing branch to remain open during construction.
The new building might also include a replacement for the Mitchell Park Community Center.  Group 4 anticipates that the library and community center could share program space, bathrooms, and other areas.  The combined facility would range from 42,000 up to 51,000 square feet.  The Parks and Recreation Commission itself contemplates needing space for future growth, anticipating that the rising city population will force the school district to reopen the nearby Cubberley Community Center as a high school.
In addition to the substantial improvements at Mitchell Park, the Library Advisory Commission and library staff are also preparing recommendations for the library's annual operating budget.  At its October 26 meeting, commissioners tentatively recommended being open four hours more each week at the Mitchell Park branch, keeping the Children's Library open two additional hours a week, and adding one or two more service days per week to the College Terrace and Downtown branches.  They also supported increasing children and teen programs, volunteer coordination, staffing for both existing hours and additional collection development, and custodial services.  At previous meetings, commissioners hoped for substantial increases for library technology and the collection budget.  With additional items awaiting discussion, the draft recommendations would add at least three-quarters of a million dollars to the annual budget, plus an additional $1.5 million over several years to fill shelves in an enlarged Mitchell Park branch.  City council members have cautioned that the city cannot fund budget increases and have asked the City Auditor to look for operating efficiencies.
You can learn more by reading an earlier version of the Commission's proposal or by attending the upcoming meetings.  You can also email comments to and the  The scheduled meetings (subject to change) are:
November 15 - Library Advisory Commission, 6:30 pm, Downtown Library, 270 Forest Ave.
November 16 - Library Advisory Commission, 7 pm, City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave.
November 30 - Library Advisory Commission, 7 pm, City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave.
December 4 - City Council Meeting, 7 pm, City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave.
December 11 - City Council Meeting, 7 pm, City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave.
Let's Check out Books
The Friends of the Palo Alto Library Singers, known for their eclectic repertoire, performed the following song at last month's well-attended Annual Meeting.

Let's Do It
With apologies to Cole Porter

Moms do it, dads do it,
Even little girls and lads do it,
Let's do it, let's check out books.
Teachers who strain to explain do it,
Children who now go to Main do it,
Let's do it, let's check out books.
Some fans who drive quite a ways do it
To get books for themselves,
Folks at Downtown do it look at those empty shelves.
Punks who aren't good, know they should, do it,
Terman Park's old users wish they could do it,
Let's do it, let's check out books.
The smallest babes do it, teens do it,
Senior citizens in jeans do it,
Let's do it, let's check out books.
Mitchell Park folks, in a squeeze, do it,
Lots of College Terracees, do it.
Let's do it, let's check out books.
Some who crave thick monographs do it
Though perusing is slow;
We've heard the staff do it - when
Circulation is low.
For an exam, kids who cram do it,
Some who cannot read a telegram do it,
Let's do it, let's check out books.
Rich financiers with careers do it,
Tired booksale volunteers do it,
Let's do it, let's check out books.
Sellers to spiff up their homes, do it,
Ptolemaics who love tomes, do it,
Let's do it, let's check out books.
Globe-trotting types on the go, do it,
Flying off to Saigon,
Those with no dough, do it,
'Cuz it beats Amazon.
And that's why you do it,
We do it,
Even those who cannot sing on key do it,
Let's do it, let's check out books.
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 under 1% for our 2005-2006 fiscal year.  In other words, over 99% 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.