Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

Saturday August 14
Bargain and Children's Room Open 10 am - 4 pm
Marty's (Main) Room CLOSED DUE TO FIRE
Outdoor $1.00 Sale CANCELLED
Ephemera TBA
Better Books Bonanza Open 10 am - 4 pm
Sunday August 15
All Rooms Open 11 am - 4pm


Bargain Books
Children's Books
Exceptional/Collectible Books


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

More information on the sales
Donate your old books

Marty's (Main) Room
*** NOTICE ***: Due to a fire in Marty's (Main) Book Room, there will be no sale in this room until further notice. See notes at right.

There will be NO EARLY ENTRY NUMBERS issued for this sale.

Children's Book Sale
The Children's Room has moved to the portable formerly occupied by the Jewish Community Center next to the soccer field. It is entirely filled with children's books and toys. You'll find picture books, school age fiction and non-fiction, award winners, non-English titles, CDs and DVDs, and books for parents and teachers, most for 50 cents or $1. This room and the Bargain Room open at 10 am on Saturday. Strollers are welcome in the Children's Room at any time.

Bargain Books in K-7
The Bargain Room is located in Rooms K-7 and K-6 of the Cubberley main campus, right next to the tennis courts. 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. On Sunday, the room opens at 11 am and all prices are half off. Save even more on Sundays by buying grocery bags from us for $5 each and stuffing them with any items in the room. Buy 4 bags and get the 5th one FREE!

Temporary Library Now Open at Cubberley
The Mitchell Park and Downtown library operations have been moved to the Cubberley Community Center Auditorium and are now open and will remain open while the new Mitchell Park Library/Youth Center is built, and the Downtown Library is renovated. Now you can visit the library and our book sales all in one stop!
Non-Profit Book Giveaway
Non-profit organizations, schools and teachers that need FREE books should come to the Bargain Room this month from 4 to 6 pm on Sunday, August 14. Please bring your own 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.

August Sale Notes


On the morning of Monday, August 9, a fire destroyed a small portion of Marty's (Main) Room, the building in which the bulk of our book sale is hosted. Thanks to a quick 911 call by a homeless gentleman, the good people of the Palo Alto Fire Department responded quickly and prevented any damage to the surrounding area and neighborhood. Though the fire was extinguished the room suffered much smoke damage. No one was hurt, but our sorting facilities, office and computer equipment were damaged. The cause is under investigation but the building is not fit for having a sale, and the books, unfortunately, are smoke damaged. We are taking offers on the entire Main Room inventory (see item below).

The late summer months tend to be very strong for us in terms of donation quality and quantity; and sales and this month may have been one of our best sales ever.

Despite the loss, we carry on. In the Bargain Room and Children's Room, it will be business as usual. They were not affected in any way by the fire and those sales will be held as always. Inventory levels in both rooms is well above normal. In addition we have a "Better Book Bonanza", a new sale we are trying out to replace our "Exceptional Books" Glass Case experiment a few months ago. More details are below. We are in the process of seeking a temporary venue to hold our September Sale, any leads would be much appreciated. For current updates please check our web site.

Bargain & Children's Room Bursting With Books (and More)

Even before the fire, we were rapidly filling the Bargain Room with books, movies, records, magazines, and much, much more. It will be one of the largest Bargain Room Sales we have had in recent memory. Our Children's Room Manager also reports that they have more books than they can ever remember having. There will be NO fire-affected books sold in either room.

Exceptional/Collectible Books Sale In Annex

We are very pleased to present a special High Value and Collectibles Sale in our new building which we call "The Annex". Regular booksale patrons may remember our "Glass Case" that had our special books. This sale, called the "Better Book Bonanza", expands on that idea into what we hope will be a quarterly sale of "exceptional" books and ephemera.

Exceptional means out of the ordinary and that's what you'll find. Not only higher-value books, but also curious items, and items too small or too fragile to withstand the crush of the Main Room Sale. Items in the sale will be priced at least 25% below comparable on-line prices, with some items as low as $5.00. The books for this sale have been carefully curated over the past three months and we've got a really wonderful, eclectic selection of fine merchandise. Some highlights:

  • An enticing and unusual selection of fine art and photography monographs from Jean Arp, Andy Goldsworthy, Japanese Textile Design, Ruhlmann, Philippe Halsman, Minor White, Carlton Watkins and many more.
  • Signed first editions, including a Ken Kesey extravaganza, from Ray Bradbury, Galen Rowell, various Stanford professors, Paul Auster, Carl Sandburg, and more.
  • A small but interesting collection of African American books, including a first printing of Lorraine Hansberry's "The Movement"; a memoir written and signed by Charles Dryden, one of the last Tuskegee airmen; and a fascinating early reader book from 1939 (1945 later edition) featuring the everyday activities of Tobe and his brothers and sisters on their farm in North Carolina. This book has B&W photos of real children setting a rabbit trap, going to the cotton gin, avoiding the work of turning the grinding wheel, and more.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins illustrated like you've never seen before.
  • A book by Melvin Van Peebles (photography by Ruth Bernard) when he was known simply as Melvin Van, San francisco Cable car grip man. He later made it big as Melvin Van Peebles producing, directing and starring in blaxploitation films.
  • Remember playing board games? We have a nice collection of vintage Avalon Hill War Games.
  • More - an eclectic collection of books on music; unusual children's books; Mickey Mouse comic books in Italian and Dutch; books to stock your new reference shelf on collecting ancient Roman coins.

These books aren't just for high-end collectors, they're for everyone. Looking for that favorite book from your childhood? Local history buff? Maybe you enjoyed the Alexander Calder pieces in the current SFMOMA exhibition and you want a more intimate view of his life? Want to fill out your collection of mint-condition Folio Society editions? Then the Better Book Bonanza is THE place to be this weekend (or just drop in for a look!)

To get to the Bonanza use the side entrance ramp to the Children's Room building following the signs posted for the sale. We have the inventory photographed and cataloged, with the catalog available below in two formats (HTML and PDF) including prices and descriptions. There may be some late additions to the sale that are not listed or photographed.

Click on the appropriate link below to view a list of the inventory available for the Better Books Bonanza:

Inventory List in HTML Format (view on screen)

Inventory List in PDF Format (printable)

The Better Book Bonanza will be open 10am to 4pm on Saturday and 11am to 4pm on Sunday.

Preview Our Shelves

Click here to see some of the books at this weekend's sale Check out some of the books that will be on sale this weekend using our shelf preview pictures. This month we have pictures from the Better Books Bonanza and the Children's Room.

We're Still Accepting Donations
Despite the fire, we have no intention of slowing down our activities. We continue to accept donations and will even arrange pickup of large donations or for those unable to bring their items to our facilities.
Bargain Room Bag Sale
On Sunday the Bargain Room features a "bag sale". For $5.00 you purchase a large shopping bag from our cashier and then you can fill it up with anything inside the Bargain Room. We encourage creative bag packing to maximize value. For every 4 bags you buy, you get an additional bag FREE! If you don't want to buy a whole bag, all items are 50% off our Saturday prices - so hardback books and media are only 50 cents, softcover books only 25 cents.

The Annual Members-Early Sale has been set for Saturday, November 13. Due to the fire, the location may change. Details will be published in future newsletters and is also available on the web site.... The Bargain Room is once again filled to capacity and beyond.... Remember, we DO accept donations during the sale - drop off a few and pick up some new ones.... Coming Soon - sell your stuff on eBay and donate a portion of the proceeds to FOPAL!

Offers Will Be Taken On Smoke Damaged Inventory

The decision has been made to try and sell the Main Room inventory "as-is". There are approximately 35,000 books, CDs, DVDs, and Audio Books. If you are interested in making a bid please contact the Book Sale Manager by email at or leave a message with your contact information at (650) 213-8755 for details and to make an appointment to review the inventory.

Support Palo Alto's Libraries While You Shop
By shopping at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park and, a percentage of your purchase price can help the Palo Alto Libraries at no cost to you. At Kepler's, just mention to the cashier that you want to support the Friends of the Palo Alto Library. For, always start your shopping session by clicking here or on the Amazon link on the top right of any of our web pages at Virtually all purchases you make at Amazon are eligible, not just books. Over the years, we've raised thousands of dollars to help our libraries through these programs.
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 2007-2008 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.