Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

Saturday April 13
Ephemera 8am - 4pm
Bargain and Children's Rooms 10am - 4pm
Main Room Sale 11am - 4pm
Tent Sale 9am - 4pm

Sunday April 14
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Nature & Animals
Drama & Theater
Music & Dance
European Language
Home & Craft


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 is located in 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 H-2
The Bargain Room has moved to Rooms H-2 and H-3 of the Cubberley main campus, between Marty's Room and Middlefield Road. 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!

Main Library Closing for Renovation
Main Library will be closing on Tuesday April 30. A temporary Main Library will be opening on Friday May 3 in the Art Center Auditorium at 1313 Newell Road. Downtown Library and College Terrace Library will also be open for additional hours during Main Library's renovation.

The Library will be hosting an Aloha! party at Main Library on Tuesday April 30, from 3 PM to 5 PM.

For more information on the renovation and the party, please see the Library's news page.

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.

Earth Day is every day- Bring your own bag please!

As you may have heard the era of the plastic bag is almost over at shops and restaurants throughout Palo Alto after city officials decided March 11, to greatly expand the city's existing ban on the notorious creek polluters. The new ban will take effect on July 1 for retail establishments and on November 1 for food-service establishments, charging 10 cents for a paper bag in the first year and possibly increasing it to 25 cents. The council decided to leave it at 10 cents for at least 18 to 24 months, after which time the city can reevaluate the pricing.

Here at the Friends of the Palo Alto Library we continue to do our part by recycling all plastic bags we receive from those carrying in book donations and by re-using all paper bags brought in for customer purchases at our popular Sunday "Bargain Room Bag Sale." As FOPAL looks ahead we can see a day when we'll have fewer and fewer paper bags to offer our customers. We also envision the real possibility that we too will need to charge 25 cents for paper bags. In honor of Earth Day being every day we are asking you to bring your own bag (BYOB) to the sale. Many of our customers already bring their own bags and to you we say thank you very much!

FOPAL & PACL have gone to the dogs

Our Nature & Animals section in the Main Room and Bargain Room is overflowing with books on dogs, dog breeding and dog training. A recent donation from a retiring applied animal behaviorist and dog trainer brought us dozens of boxes of books on our canine companions. Irina Cross, section manager for Nature & Animals, has done a great job of getting this large donation on the shelves and priced to sell. If you are interested in seeing the majority of this collection, you'll want to check out the Nature & Animals section in both the Main Room and Bargain Room.

Dogs are making a positive impact in the Palo Alto Children's Library too. Children can come to the library during "Paws to Read" and select a book to read to a furry friend. All of the dogs and handlers who participate have been certified as therapy dogs by an accredited organization. For many children, this allows them a rare chance to experience stress free reading. Once they are in this situation, children find themselves relaxing and having fun while reading! They come to think of themselves as good readers, which helps their self-esteem and makes them eager to read. And eager readers practice their reading more often, leading to improved reading skill. FOPAL happily contributes to "Paws to Read" and to all other Palo Alto Children's Library programming.

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.

Drama & Theater we love at FOPAL

Our Drama & Theater section received many great books from the soon-to-be-closing Main Library. Check out the entire collection of the Best of Plays 1909-1932 by Burns Mantle; these are listed used on Amazon for $8.50. Section manager Bob Jackson has our ex-library copies priced for $2!

If you are looking for a great visual representation of Shakespeare's works, look for Shakespeare's Genealogy, a full-color, fully illustrated, 17-foot long, fold-out volume. Author Vanessa James traces the genealogies of the more than 1,000 characters mentioned in all thirty-nine of William Shakespeare's plays. Its thorough, exhaustive, and inventive scholarship makes it a must-have for any serious student of Shakespeare, as well as anyone who wants to gain a greater appreciation and enjoyment of his timeless dramatic works. A quick check on Amazon shows this publication selling used for $4.50 and Bob Jackson has two copies priced at a mere $2! Another great find in this section for April are two nearly new copies of The Producers, by Mel Books and Tom Meehan--Amazon priced used for $15, and at FOPAL $5!

Now, if you're more interested in seeing professional theatre that is uncommon, intimate, and accessible to its audiences, artists, and community, look for FOPAL volunteer Lessa Bouchard as the courtesan Emilie in Dragon Theater's performance of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. April 18-May 12. I'm looking forward to seeing FOPAL's newest high-value book researcher in this highly anticipated performance. For those needing more reasons to catch this play, it's a tale of seduction set in France among aristocrats. This drama explores decadent sexuality, morals and manipulation played as the ultimate battle of the sexes between the rivals Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont. In this classic story of revenge, love, lust, and betrayal, Les Liaisons Dangereuses shows us that "the only thing which might surprise one is how little the world changes." I'll be there for the opening night performance at Dragon Theater's new home in Redwood City. Break a leg Lessa!

Music & Dance is in on the act too

FOPAL Board Secretary Charlotte Epstein writes this about her section for April, "The Music & Dance section is an eclectic mix; in Dance look for the books of ballet in photographs, the Rockettes, or the story of Fred Astaire in Puttin' on the Ritz. Find out more about Broadway in The Producers, The Book, Lyrics and Story behind the Biggest Hit in Broadway History or in Wicked, The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. If you are a Jimi Hendrix fan, check out Jimi Hendrix, An Illustrated Experience which includes a 70 minute CD. Fans of opera and Amy Tan should look at Fate, Luck, Chance describing the making of The Bonesetter's Daughter. If you are homesick for New York, look at New York: Songs of the City, which has wonderful illustrations of sheet music from the past. Also browse our sheet music collection to add to your own musical enjoyment." Thanks, Charlotte, for keeping us current on what's special in the Music & Dance section.

European Language books get historical

A large number of books in Hungarian were donated by Paul Pigott, Professor of Engineering (emeritus) in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (Chair 1990-2001) at Stanford University. During our correspondence about this generous donation we learned that "Most of the books deal with the history of the period from the Second World War and the Cold War through the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The books are all serious works aimed at the general public and are in excellent shape." There are also some novels by well-known Hungarian authors, too many to list. If you or someone you know is interested in these books look for them in our European Languages section. Thanks for helping us spread the word about these rare books.

Home & Craft April update

Section Manager Nancy Welch has this to offer for April in the Home & Craft section: "It's not an April fool's joke: the Home and Craft section has simply blossomed into a new space to better accommodate the wonderful selection of books we have been receiving. So be sure to stop by and check where your favorite section is now located. Speaking of blossoms, dainty spring bulbs and branches are greatly enhanced in Ikebana floral arrangements which happen to be our feature of the month. And that's not all, the library sent an enormous number of books to Home and Craft this month, which means you can acquire an enormous amount of information for very little money. Look for white stickers, often with an X on them, on the spine in all categories for terrific bargains. Here's a thought for you, check your bookshelves and bring in those books you no longer use, then purchase a new spring wardrobe of books to perk up your own shelves." Thanks, Nancy, for keeping our customers up to date on what's special in Home & Craft for April. Be sure to stop by this section to see what's sprung up in the new shelf space Home & Craft has acquired.

Ephemera's got greeting cards

Look for a large display of greeting cards in our Ephemera area. Marda Buchholz, our greeting card goddess, wants to encourage you to take a moment to look through the greeting cards available for the April sale. "This month there are cards for Administrative Professionals Day, Mother's Day, and Graduation, in addition to our regular greeting cards for sale." Remember all our cards are 25 cents and will surely make a thoughtful gesture if you are still open to using snail-mail. I LOVE getting greeting cards in the mail; it's still the best way to let someone know you are thinking about them and taking time to write. Sincerely yours, Janette.

Philosophy for April

Nigel Jones wrote this about his section this month. Not just quality but quantity is the hallmark of this month's Philosophy section. The shelves are set to burst with 180 books, certainly a recent record! This month many titles reflect a specific focus, such as the philosophy of language, history, logic, morality, science or literature, philosophers represented this month that we have not seen for a while include Spinoza and Leibnitz.

Book of the month (actually 8 books): The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1967, editor Paul Edwards, Macmillan Company, in 8 volumes. This is the seminal text of the period in the extended 8 volumes as opposed to the later condensed 4 volumes. Although ex libris, other than toning due to age, they appear practically unused, these are sold as a set and found on the bottom shelf.

The Chinese section grows each month with 18 books in April. Found in a separate area on the bottom shelf. Bargain books, don't forget to look for more options in the Bargain Room. Thanks Nigel!

Historical fiction

Longtime volunteer, section manager Suzanne Little wants to mention this about her section Historical Fiction. "Just to let you know that this month in Historical Fiction in addition to our usual wide variety of historical novels we have a very large collection of historical sea adventures and stories. Our collection of historical thrillers and swashbuckling historical adventures has also expanded." Not only does Suzanne manage the Historical Fiction section but she also keeps the sorting room stocked with yummy snacks. A huge thank you to Suzanne FOPAL's queen of snacks!

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 Library (limit of one bag or box per day, please). 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.
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.