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

September 14
1 pm - 4 pm

Featured topics for September:

Advertising • Anthropology
Aromatherapy • Books-on-Tape • CDs
Children's Art • Classics • Computers
Digital Technology • Drama • Cooking
DVDs • Foreign Languages • Judaica
The Military • Politics
Science Fiction Paperbacks & Magazines
Self-Help • Travel Adventures & Guides
U.S. Presidents • Videos • World Wars
Over 50,000 items altogether!

4000 Middlefield Road
Palo Alto
NW corner of the Cubberley Community Center
(650) 213-8755

More information on the sales
Donate your old books

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.  You may pick up a ticket for yourself and for one other person.
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, and children's books are just 25 cents each.  The room also contains many LP records and 78s at $1 each.  All items are half off 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.

Members-Early Sale on December 13

Members of the Friends of the Palo Alto Library get in early once a year.  This year, it will be at our December 13 sale.  Regular members get into the Main Room one hour early and life members are admitted two hours early.  More information.

Fees Rise to Use Library Printers
As of October 6, the library will no longer offer five free printouts per day from the Internet computers.  Instead, each black and white printout will cost five cents per page and each color printout will be ten cents.
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, September 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.
Book Donations Hit All-time High

We received a record amount of books this month in all categories.  Our rooms are completely filled and then some, and we've got great bargains everywhere.
Some remarkably nice books came from Foothill and De Anza Community Colleges, including many new textbooks.  Some are academic works and textbooks on topics such as the history of business, domestic and international business affairs, and how business relates to society and politics, all of which are located in our Business section.  The collection also contained a number of college-level math textbooks and science books, which will be in our nearby Science section, plus sociology, psychology, and reference works.  We've priced many of these at just $1.
We also received a huge number of interesting books on drama, which you can see in our preview pictures.  You'll find these on our specials tables and in two extra bookcases and the regular Drama section. 
Be sure to also visit our Children's Room this month, which is positively overflowing with wonderful books, games, puzzles, and toys.

Preview Our Shelves

Click here to see some of the shelves at this weekend's saleCheck out some of the tens of thousands of books that will be on sale this weekend using our shelf preview pictures.

Election Politics at October 23 Annual Meeting

Dr. Jonathan Herzog of the Stanford History Department and the Hoover Institute will discuss "Red State, Blue State: The Mysterious Twentieth-Century Shift in America's Political Map" at the Friends of the Palo Alto Library annual meeting on October 23.  Herzog recently wrote The Hammer and the Cross, a book examining how and why American leaders employed religion as a weapon in the early Cold War.  He is also the son of a library director.

We'll be holding our own elections at the meeting as well.  Our Nominating Committee's slate for 2009 officers is Betsy Allyn (President), Martha Schmidt (Vice President), Margarita Quihuis (Secretary), and Enid Pearson (Treasurer).  Half of the Friend's board is elected each year and the committee has nominated Gretchen Emmons, Gerry Masteller, Enid Pearson, Jim Schmidt, Steve Staiger, Ellen Wyman, and Scottie Zimmerrnan for the board seats with 2009-2010 terms.
The meeting will begin at 7:30 pm at the Palo Alto Art Center Auditorium at 1313 Newell Ave.  Refreshments will be served and the event is free and open to all.

Library Usage Update

The Palo Alto Public Library reports 2007-08 circulation was over 1.5 million, a 9% rise over the prior year, with the College Terrace and Downtown branches experiencing the greatest growth.  The actual number of items checked out of the Palo Alto library was lower, as the library counts each renewal as one additional circulation, as do many other libraries.
Renewals have become much easier in recent years, thanks to email notices of upcoming due dates that link to the library website where you can conveniently renew multiple items at once.  In 2005-06, for each three items originally checked out of Palo Alto libraries, approximately one was renewed.  Moreover, renewals may be increasing much faster than checkouts, if experience at the Ann Arbor Library in Michigan is a guide.  Although that library's 2007-08 circulation was impressively 15% higher than the prior year, most of that was due to a 21% increase in online renewals.  In fact, thanks no doubt to the convenience of online and phone renewals, Ann Arbor users renew each item about 1.5 times on average!  More information.

Palo Alto Library Bond Measure "N": Q&A

Artist's view of the proposed Downtown Library upgrades

With just two months until voters decide on the library bond measure, here are some questions and answers:
Q: What's the purpose of the bond measure?
A: To provide additional space to expand library collections, add new children's and group program areas, replace outdated lighting, provide modern ventilation and air conditioning systems, ensure seismic safety, and enhance disabled access.
Q: Which branches are covered?
A: The Mitchell Park, Main, and Downtown libraries.  The bond measure does not include either the recently-updated Children's Library or the College Terrace Library, which already has funds for a major upcoming renovation.
Q: How will the Mitchell Park Library be affected?
A: It and the adjacent Community Center will be replaced by a new combined 51,000 square foot facility, costing $50 million.  The new library will be about four times the size of the current one, alleviating the current crowded conditions and allowing for additional seating, study, and children's areas. The branch's collection capacity will almost double.
Q: How will the Downtown Library be affected?
A: Some staff currently in the building will be moved out as part of the $4 million of renovations.  A children's room will be created in an area formerly occupied by staff and a meeting room for 50-60 will be located where the periodicals are presently.  The current plans show reduced shelving for the collection but a new computer area.
Q: How will the Main Library be affected?
A: 4,171 square feet will be added to the 50-year old library, primarily for a new program room in the rear on the Art Center side, seating approximately 100 people.  The building will also gain four new group study rooms under the eaves of the patio outcroppings, air conditioning, upgraded lighting, seismic reinforcing, new restrooms, and better access for those with disabilities.  Some other sections of the library will be rearranged as part of the $18 million upgrade.
Q: How much will the bond measure cost?
A: Up to $76,000,000. The city also estimates that an additional $4.3 million will be needed for items such as furniture that cannot be paid for by bond funds, plus $1 million more to purchase the new collection items.  Private donations may help with these.
Q: How will this affect my taxes?
A: The bond measure will be paid through an increase in property taxes.  The city's best estimate of the highest annual tax rate for the bond is $28.74 per $100,000 of assessed tax valuation.  Based on the County Assessor's 2008-09 report, this means $200.42 per year for the average Palo Alto single family residence.
Q: Will it also cost more to run the expanded libraries?
A: The city expects that operating the larger facilities will cost an additional $750,000 to $1.1 million annually.
Q: I have more questions - where can I get answers?
A: Please type your questions in below and we'll try to provide answers in our next newsletter.  You need not include your name/email address. 

Q: Where can I learn more?
A: See the official bond documents, our quick views of the proposed designs, information from supporters of the bond measure, recent poll results, an editorial and responses and campaign update in the Palo Alto Weekly, the city's project website and discussion of the ballot measure, and previous coverage on our news pages.
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 2006-2007 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.