Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

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

Sunday August 11
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Children's Room
Biographies & Memoirs


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!

Library Closings for Labor Day Holiday
All libraries will be closed Sunday, September 1 and Monday, September 2 for the Labor Day holiday. Normal hours will resume on Tuesday, September 3.

You can find out about closings and other Palo Alto Library events on the Library's event calendar.
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 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.
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.

The Children's Room is Ready to Help Your Kids Go Back-to-School

The first week of school is a great time to share some awesome children's literature that is perfect for teaching about going back to school. Many of the books will be a springboard for a discussion on back to school topics. Start with books and get your kids thinking! In our Children's Room you can find dozens of books to inspire. Check out the new poetry area filled with great selections like Shel Silverstein's second book, The Giving Tree, and Falling Up, the last book that he published in 1999. Shel invited children to dream and dare to imagine the impossible.

Visiting the Children's Room this sale will help you begin daydreaming of the bounty of books you can afford, filling your child's room with more books that imaginable! With the huge number of books donated over the summer the shelves are full. Look for nearly new books in the reference area to support your child's study like Dictionary for Children or a First Dictionary. For tech inspired learning finds you'll find used Leap Frogs and Leap Pads available.

And, in the Play & Learning section look for dozens of titles Reading Magic and The Organized Student to name a few. And, for your tweens & teens you'll find the best selection of Beginner Reading, Early Chapter Books and Middle-grade Fiction, as well as popular series, American girl, Lizzie McGuire, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. We even have a section for classics like Narnia, Dear America and Little House on the Prairie! Come pick up an entire series and you'll be set to start this new school year.

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.

FOPAL Ephemera Goes on Stage

The definition of Ephemera: paper items (as posters, broadsides, and tickets) that were originally meant to be discarded after use but have since become collectibles.

FOPAL is excited to have been the inspiration for a theatrical work-in-progress. Volunteer book value researcher Lessa Bouchard took a box of Ephemera (letters and items found over the years in donated books) and is in the process of bringing these found objects to life on stage. FOPAL is thrilled to be a part of art in the making. The performance, Arc:Hive presents A Moment (Un)Bound; Or, the Unreal Past opened as part of Fool's Fury's Factory Parts Festival of Works-in-progress at the Theater of Yugen Noh Space in SF this past July.

Another FOPAL volunteer, Nancy Hurxthal, is on board with this production too. Nancy is a retired librarian from Boston that also has oodles of experience with set & costume design! This collaboration has proven to be a work worth perusing with the Dragon Theater in Redwood City slated to share this play in their 2014 season. Congratulations to FOPAL's Ephemera for the inspiration and stay tuned for more information about performance dates in 2014!

Looking for more theater in the Ephemera area? We have dozens of movie posters rolled up and rubber banded and ready to grace any wall. These posters will go fast at 25 cents each so be sure to look them over Saturday morning at 8 AM when the Ephemera section opens.

Updating listed books from online sales

New online sales volunteer Rajat Bansal has quickly taken to helping Jerry Stone with FOPAL's electronic commerce (EC) operation, Grandma Betsy Books. Several hundred books were removed from FOPAL's online listings and sent to the appropriate section managers for price updating. Jerry Stone in the recent summer Section Mangers meeting said "Book pricing is dynamic", meaning that a book once valued at a particular price may over time have that price go up or down. The updated-previously listed books from FOPAL's online sales can be found in all sections in the Main Room. These books are now being offered for the first time to our sales day customers. Look for the white paper book slips indicating that this book's price has been updated. And, a big THANK YOU to Rajat and Jerry for making these "previously listed for online sale" books available for August!

Want to check FOPAL's electronic commerce inventory? You can find a listing of the books at

Biography and Memoirs Gets Quotable Quotes

We must let go of the life we have planned
So as to accept the one that is waiting for us.

        -Joseph Campbell

Biography and Memoirs section manager, FOPAL board member, and Publicity chairperson Ann Justice has added an assortment of her favorite quotes to shelves and signs in the Biography and Memoirs area. She's even slipped a few quotes into some of the books in her section. She says that she's collected these nuggets of wisdom on how to live life throughout an entire life of reading and wants to share them with others. See which quote is in the book you select and decide if it's meaningful for you too!

Ann comments that the most popular sub-section in the Biography and Memoirs Section is, not too surprisingly, what she has chosen to call "Surviving Adulthood - Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing." Subsections include: Marriage/Romance/Friendship, Losing a Loved One, Illness/Injury, Addiction, Raising a Special Child/Adoption, and The Last Hurrah: Growing Older. Three additional sections feature Asian, Middle Eastern, and African-American experience. The shelves are full of eloquently written and courageously honest memoirs about encountering, and surviving, every aspect of human existence, both joyful and painful.

Ann would also like to call attention to a special shelf she's labeled "Memorable Memoirs - So Well Written." These books are among her personal favorites. Don't miss the wonderful Edwardian childhood that Agatha Christie describes in her An Autobiography, M. M. Kaye's magical childhood and young adulthood in India during the British Raj in The Sun in the Morning, Russell Baker's subtle tribute to his mother's strength during the Depression in his Growing Up, Isak Dinesen's eloquent Out of Africa (forget you ever saw the movie!), and Laurie Lee's poetic evocation of his warm, funny, lively, impoverished childhood in the Cotswolds in the 1920s in Cider with Rosie, aka The Edge of Day. Every book on the shelf delivers both a portrait of a bygone time and place while treating the timeless themes of love, loss, and growth. If you've got a favorite classic memoir you'd like to see displayed on the shelf so others can enjoy it, let Ann know at

New Blood in Health

Look for books to have moved around a bit in the Health section. New volunteer, assistant section manager Karen D. has been helping in Health for the past several months. A retired health care professional, Karen brings a wealth of knowledge and medical experience to this big section.

Anticipating several weeks away from the Book Room, Health section manager Verne Rice requested help before and during her absence. Luckily for FOPAL, Karen had just applied to be a volunteer. After a few weeks of training, Verne was ready to leave Health in Karen's capable hands.

Verne has just returned after a 3-week-long tour to the East Coast to speak about her late father, Armand Spitz. As an astronomer-educator many years ago, at one of only five planetariums in the country, he invented and developed planetariums which now reach millions of people throughout the world. Welcome back, Verne, and thanks to Karen for pumping new blood into the Health section.

Section Managers "Representing Their Books"


"In the Humor section for August we have over 240 ways to make you laugh! This month's books range from Wodehouse, through Benchley, Bruce and Thurber up to Barry, Sedaris and Fey. We also have a large and very eclectic mix of cartoon books which are located on the bottom right shelf." -Nigel Jones


"Philosophy has expanded to two bookcases, each with a different focus, but unfortunately not side by side. Bookcase #1, Aisle 12 as usual; this bookcase focuses on books by or about specific philosophers although it also has many very interesting books on the general topic.

Noteworthy this month: Montaigne, three books including an excellent edition of his biography, How to Live; Thoreau, ten books including the Modern Library edition, Walden and Other Writings. This month we have sixteen books relating to Chinese philosophy, located on the bottom right shelf, each one for only 50 cents!

Bookcase #2, on the main aisle as you come in the door, 3rd bookcase on your right. This bookcase focuses on books about philosophy. This includes dictionaries, encyclopedia sets, single volumes from sets, histories of philosophy or specific groups of philosophers or schools of thought.

Noteworthy this month: The Great Documents of Western Civilization, Milton Viorst

Bargain Room: for all the books that have been well traveled don't forget to visit the Bargain Room" -Nigel Jones

Home & Craft

"Home and Craft has a wonderful collection of magazines to share this month- Fine Home Building, Fine Woodworking, Threads, and Scrapbook Trends. Also a few Folkware patterns from the stop by." -Nancy Welch

Greeting Cards

"Sale in greeting cards this month only: 5 cards for 25 cents, your pick" -Marda Buchholz

Sports, Transportation & Ephemera

"The Sports standout this month is a modest, slim 'magazine' style San Francisco SEALS 1954 Year Book containing team and stadium history from 1903-53 in a plastic envelope.

As usual, Sports & Transportation have fine, moderately priced books. Ephemera has outstanding 25c Science & Tech magazines plus "Hard Ephemera" outside." -Althea Andersen

Music CDs

"Over 1,500 CD's available for sale, including 500 Classical, 500 Rock (including a section of Compilations and Greatest Hits), International, 60s Rock, Easy Listening, Movie Soundtracks and Jazz." -John Scheibe

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.
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. 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.