Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

Saturday September 8
Ephemera 8am - 4pm
Bargain and Children's Rooms 10am - 4pm
Main Room Sale 11am - 4pm
Tent Sale 9am - 4pm

Sunday September 9
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Historical Fiction
Modern Literature
British Authors--Notable Women
Jane's World Railways
Music & Dance
Phonograph Records
VHS Tapes
FOPAL Goes to the B&W Ball!


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

More information on the sales
Donate your old books

Marty's (Main) Room
In our Main Room, prices are way below what used book stores charge. Hardcover books start at $1.00 and softcover books start at only 50 cents.

Due to the popularity of our sale and the fact that we can only have 160 customers in the room at any time a numbered ticket system (Main Room only) is in place and numbers are given out beginning at 8am on Saturday. Be sure to be in line in order of your number before the 11am opening. If you miss the time when your number is allowed to enter the Main Room you will forfeit your place in line. NOTE: If you plan on arriving to the sale after 11am you do NOT need to get a number.

Please note that due to crowding during the first two hours of the Book Sale, no strollers, rolling carts, etc. can be brought into the Main Room. This is for the safety of shoppers and volunteers alike. By 12:30 or so, the crowd thins out and shoppers are welcome to bring these items into the 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. 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. On Saturday, 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. Or, save even more on Sunday 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!

Library Closings for Columbus Day
All libraries will be closed Sunday and Monday, October 7 and 8, for the Columbus Day holiday. Normal hours will resume on Tuesday October 9.

You can find out about closings and other Palo Alto Library events on the Library's event calendar.
Non-Profit Book Giveaway
Non-profit organizations and schools are able to select books from among the thousands of books available in the Bargain Room on the Sunday evening following the sale from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. If you are associated with a non-profit organization or school that would like to receive books from us for free or for information on eligibility, hours, and the types of materials available, please contact Norma Burchard in advance by e-mail at or at (650) 494-1082. Several dozen organizations benefit from the monthly giveaways, including local hospitals, homeless programs, senior centers, schools, and jails, as well as libraries in rural areas and on reservations, and literacy projects in many other countries.

We're always eager to hear your suggestions for ways to improve our book sale. Please email us at or mention them to a volunteer at the sale.

Reading History and Historical Fiction can be fun and satisfying

It's fun to imagine the past, to walk through the ages in one's mind. The more history you read, the more it can fill in the blanks in the understanding and in the mental images of the universe in which we live. Reading history can be fun and satisfying.

One good reason to check out our History section is that you'll be treated to a unique opportunity, to explore the vast collection we have in every area. In particular "... we have a very extensive collection of African-American books including many 'classics' in the field" says Suzanne Little, our long time History Section manager.

Another way to enjoy reading history is by reading Historical Fiction. Historical fiction presents a story set in the past, often during a significant time period. Historical fiction may include fictional characters, well-known historical figures or a mixture of the two. This month in our Historical Fiction section we are featuring Gore Vidal's books in a memorial tribute. Eugene Luther Gore Vidal was an American writer known for his essays, novels, screenplays, and Broadway plays. Take a moment to see what books we have by this author.

Preview Our Shelves

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

Mentioning the Many Modern Library Titles Available This Month

We are mentioning the Modern Library here because it had an enormous impact on the American literary scene. The series was first started in 1917 and at the time was the equivalent of the modern paperback. The purpose of this series was to make available to the ever increasing mass of readers good titles by famous authors in cheap, attractive looking bindings. Those of you that collect Modern Library titles are in luck this month! Scottie Zimmerman, our section manager for Classics & Modern Literature, Short Stories, Rants & Raves as well as 20th Century British Authors wrote "I have a LOT of Modern Library titles with dust jackets...maybe 50+ Modern Literature books, a few are duplicate titles, but still, 50+ is a lot."

British Authors--Notable Women

Scottie Zimmerman has created a "special" area on the top shelf of the 20th Century British Authors section in Modern Literature. She's calling it British Authors--Notable Women. Included in this special area you'll find authors Doris Lessing, Iris Murdoch, Muriel Spark and more. While all these women are great writers, Doris Lessing is a stand-out, being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 2007. Born 22 October 1919, a Zimbabwean-British novelist, poet, playwright, librettist, biographer and short story writer Doris Lessing was the eleventh woman and the oldest ever person to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. Please plan on purchasing a book or two from this section. We have more than the usual number of titles by these fine female writers and after the London Olympics we are confident that our patrons will want to pay more attention to these British authors.

One last mention from Scottie, she says "we have the usual Russian authors, Chinese authors, Japanese authors, Indian authors, Hispanic authors, and French authors. All are books from those countries and translated into English." Thanks Scottie for mentioning these books to our readers.

Railroad and Train Buffs

We received a donation of Jane's World Railways, 10 annuals, 1982-1992 series. Jane's World Railways is a directory of railway activities worldwide. It is published annually. Half the book is dedicated to manufacturers of railway equipment, and the other half is dedicated to individual railways and metros. These ex-library books are only $5.00 each.

Having just returned from an adventure on the California Zephyr I'm now curious about all books on trains and train travel. As many of you know the California Zephyr is a train journey from San Francisco, California to Chicago and back. It is said that is the most scenic route in the USA. A quick flip thru the Jane's World Railways should give me even more information about this historic train. If you too are interested in seeing these large books look for them in on the one of the top shelves in our Large Format section. They are huge, weighing five pounds each.

Makeover in the Music & Dance Section

Our longtime volunteer Paula Wirth was helping in the Main Room last month and gave our Music & Dance section a makeover. There is more space to view our vast collection of music and dance books as well as much of the sheet music moved outside to the ephemera section so it can be better viewed too. Charlotte Epstein, our section manager for Music and Dance books says this to encourage you to visit her area: "Come see the music and books that we have on the shelves in the Music and Dance section. Half of the section is sheet music and the other half is books. There is sheet music for a wide variety of instruments and skill levels. This month there are quite a few books on jazz as well as rock'n'roll. Also you can find books on how music affects our brains and spirits." All our musical patrons will now be able to really see the wonderful opportunity afforded you in the Music and Dance section. In my humble option, this is the largest collection of sheet music you'll find in Palo Alto and at very affordable prices. Most sheet music is going for only 25 cents each!

Phonograph Records and VHS Tapes A-plenty

Record albums once offered in our High Value Vinyl Sale have made it over to the Bargain Room. If you are a vinyl collector this value is for you. We had wanted to offer these for the August sale but didn't have the room for them. While there is probably not much more space in the Bargain Room these LPs are now available for you to add to your collection. If you see longtime volunteer Jim Dean hovering in the Phonograph records section of the Bargain Room Saturday morning, ask him to show you what he thinks are the best deals we have. Jim's extensive knowledge will inspire you to pick up an artist's LP you may not have heard of. And speaking of hearing, if you do see Jim is around asks him to play one of his favorite LPs. The Bargain Room has a record player available for listening to the joy of music on vinyl.

Also in the Bargain Room we have a huge number of VHS tapes for you to choose from. FOPAL was the lucky recipient of a large donation from a video rental store that was going out of business. All VHS tapes have the original covers, are in great condition and most are priced at $1 each. These tapes are great for kids and all those not interested in using a DVD player. If VHS is your chosen way to view movies check back for more titles next month too, as we were only able to pick up half the donation this month.

FOPAL Goes to the Palo Alto Black and White Ball

A touch of Vegas is headed to Palo Alto and FOPAL is jumping on this wild ride. It's all part of the 2012 Black & White Ball, which will take place on September 29, 2012. "This year's ball has the potential of being one of the biggest ever," said Patricia Emslie, co-chairman. "We're expecting more sponsors, more prizes and more attendees than ever before," she said. For those of us past attendees, all the traditional features will also be on hand, including a wide range of entertainment, a huge selection of food and drinks from dozens of local restaurants, wineries and breweries, as well as a vibrant and festive atmosphere in the beautiful outdoor setting of Lucie Stern Community Center.

Sponsored by the Palo Alto Recreation Foundation, The Black & White Ball is a longtime community event and is considered by many as the party of the year. FOPAL has agreed to provide this newsletter "shout out" in exchange for being part of their community outreach. If you are attending the ball look for our logo and art work to be displayed as well as our membership and book sale literature. Proceeds from the evening benefit the Palo Alto community and a myriad of local schools. Organizations that have received funds in the past from the Ball include Youth Community Service, the Palo Alto Library Foundation, Partners in Education, and Middle School Athletics.

Individual tickets: $150, $100 each for those 35 years old and younger, or $100 each for groups of 10 or more, purchased at the same time. For more information, please contact Patricia Emslie at or visit the Black & White Ball's web site.

Friends Bookstore in Downtown Library
If you cannot attend the book sale, please drop by the Friends Bookstore located inside the Downtown Library and open during library hours. It is restocked regularly with a unique selection of books for all ages and interests.
FOPAL Volunteers Rock!
Here's a big THANK YOU to the dozens of FOPAL volunteers who make this sale possible. It's in part because of our amazing volunteers that the FOPAL book sales are a great success. While attending the sale offer a "Thank You" to the volunteers you see. If you'd like to become a FOPAL volunteer please email or call 650-494-1266.
FOPAL Book Sale Notices Now on Twitter
You can now follow us on Twitter @fopalbooks. We'll post Sale notices and will reveal the Sunday 50% off section via our Twitter feed.
Bring Your Donations!
Donations are accepted in the Main Room during our normal hours of 2pm - 4pm Monday through Saturday. Use the door on the right side of the building, next to the fire lane. If you need to bring books to us outside of those hours just call (650) 213-8755 and see if anyone is working in the book room and can accept your donation. We also accept donations during the Book Sale hours as well. Book and media donations can also be dropped off at the Mitchell Park and Main Libraries (limit of one bag or box per day, please). Note that the new College Terrace Library does not have the space to store donations so they ask that you please do not drop donations off there. Pickups can be arranged for large donations or if you are physically unable to bring your books to us. Please email or call (650) 213-8755 for more information or to leave a message after hours.
Special Handling for Special Donations
Got an unusual donation? If there are things you'd like to donate to us that are rare, fragile or unusual and require special attention contact or call (650) 213-8755 and leave a message for Jerry Stone.
Think Ecologically! - Bring or Donate Your Own Bags
Due to the increasing reuse of grocery and other bags, we tend to run short at our sales and encourage you to bring your own cloth tote or paper bags to the sale. If you have any extra grocery or department store bags in good condition please bring them for your purchases at the sale. We would also gladly accept any extra bags you wish to donate.
Support Palo Alto's Libraries While You Shop
By shopping at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park 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.
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.