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January 13
10 am - 4 pm
Main Room opens at 11 am

January 14
1 pm - 4 pm

Featured topics for January:

Baseball (lots!)
"Boy Books" Series
California Gold Rush
Chinese DVDs/Videotapes
Fitness and Nutrition
Harry Potter
History of Transportation
Literary Criticism of Faulkner
Little Golden Books
Maurice Sendak
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.

Please Donate Paper Grocery Bags
Here's an easy way to help out the sale: please bring empty grocery bags and give them to our volunteers at any time at the sale.  We're always running low on bags, so contributing these helps a lot!
Library Closed for Martin Luther King Day
All Palo Alto's libraries will be closed on Monday, January 15 for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday.  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.
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, January 14.  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.
Fiction Now Alphabetized by Author!
Thanks to a lot of extra work by our volunteers, all of our Main Room fiction sections are now sorted by author.  The main trade paperback section by the western wall now has the A's in the corner, beginning with Chinua Achebe's Anthills of the Savannah, right through to end of the alphabet with Banan Yoshimoto's Amrita.  Other fiction sections are Mystery, Science Fiction, Hardback, Historical, 2005, 2006, and winners of the National Book Award, Nobel Prize for Literature, Pulitzer Prize, and Man Booker Prize.  We hope sorting by author makes it much easier for you to find specific works and want to thank all the volunteers who helped out.
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 some of the tens of thousands of books for sale this weekend.
Fence Alert
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
    Robert Frost, The Mending Wall
We're sorry to report that a new fence now separates the Cubberley Community Center from the Charleston Shopping Center, where Piazza's and Pete's Coffee are located.  This means that you'll need to go out to Middlefield Road to get from our booksale room to the shopping center.  Others have already complained about the fence, and a gate is planned for the middle of it.  In the meantime, we wanted everyone to know about the problem in advance and regret any inconvenience it creates.  See the Palo Alto Weekly article.
Library Offers Extensive Free Genealogy Materials
You're just seconds away from researching your ancestors and relatives in the massive Heritage Quest genealogy resource, which the library recently obtained.  Just go to the library online resources webpage, click on the "Heritage Quest" link, and enter your library card number.  You can search for people through various United States census records from the very first in 1790 up through 1930, which is the most recent available for public viewing.  For example, a search on the surname "Pelosi" finds a Louis Pelosi in Milwaukee in 1860 who was the "director of the theater" at age 34.  Heritage Quest lets you search through many other genealogical databases as well.
The library also now offers the genealogy resource, although you must use it from computers at the branches. contains approximately two billion names from the U.S. census records and thousands of books, government records, and genealogies.  An annual membership in costs $155 or more, so using it for free at the library is a great bargain.
Palo Altans Like Their Libraries
The City Auditor's office asks Palo Altans annually about municipal services, including the library.  The 2005-2006 City of Palo Alto Citizen Survey results were released recently and show that:
78% of Palo Altans rate our overall libraries as good or excellent,
71% feel the variety of library materials is good or excellent, and
73% rate our neighborhood branch libraries as good or excellent.
Just 9% of those surveyed rated the neighborhood branch libraries as poor and only 5% said the overall libraries were poor.  These statistics are approximately the same as in previous years.

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 overall libraries ranked only in the 60th percentile.  However, these rankings are volatile, as Palo Alto ranked in only the 40th percentile just two years ago.  The variety of our library materials also now ranks in the 43rd percentile, up from the 38th percentile two years ago.

The survey found that 76% of survey participants used the library or its services at least once a year and 32% visited more than 12 times a year.  Non-residents account for 20% of library circulation.
2007 Officers and Board Members
The Friends of the Palo Alto Library has new officers and board members for 2007 based on the election held at last October's Annual Meeting.  Our new president is Martha Schmidt, who steps up from vice president since Betsy Allyn won't be able to serve as president for personal reasons.  Martha is a retired librarian who has served as the City of Santa Clara's interim library director.  She's well-known to many of our booksale customers as a cashier on Saturday morning and she has also helped sort incoming book donations.
Our new vice president is Betsy Allyn, Margarita Quihuis will continue as secretary, and Jeff Levinsky will be treasurer.  John Burt, an avid booksale volunteer currently in charge of the Non-Fiction and Movies/TV sections, is rejoining the Friends' board this year and serving as assistant treasurer.
Enid Pearson, who served on the Palo Alto City Council in the 1960s and 1970s, is also joining the Friends board.  The other 2007 Friends board members are Wendy Akers-Ghose, Rudy Batties, Gretchen Emmons, Gerry Masteller, Bob Otnes, Marty Paddock, Gloria Reade, Jim Schmidt, Barbara Silberling, Steve Staiger, Ellen Wyman, and Tom Wyman.
Polling to Shape Library Proposal
By a 9-0 [corrected] vote, Palo Alto City Council members decided in December to use an outside polling firm to help gauge public interest in various library improvements, including a new Mitchell Park library and community center.  The same polling effort is also likely to ask about the proposed new public safety building / police station.  The first poll will occur early this year, perhaps in February or March.  A second poll is anticipated to hone the ballot language, with the ballot measures expected to appear on the June 2008 ballot.
Some council members expressed concern about the approximately $40,000 needed for polling, while others felt it was vital to determine how to attain the necessary 2/3 majority. 
You can learn more by reading the Palo Alto Daily News and Palo Alto Weekly articles and our previous coverage.
Main Library Remodeling Underway
The Main Library is slated to stay open during most of a three-month remodeling effort, which began this week.  The project will shrink the circulation desk to provide more display of books and media items, create a new area in the rear for current periodicals, and make the public restrooms more accessible.  The remodeling was approved in early 2005, with additional funding allocated in 2006.  See previous coverage.
Children's Library Progress

See our month-by-month picture record of the Children's Library renovation and expansion.  The branch is currently scheduled to reopen in September 2007.  Photo credit: Ray Jadwin.

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.