Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

Saturday December 14
Ephemera 8am - 4pm
Bargain and Children's Rooms 10am - 4pm
Main Room Sale 9am - 4pm
Tent Sale 9am - 4pm

Sunday December 15
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Historical Fiction
Children's Room
Book Sets


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.


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 is located in 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 50 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 Christmas, New Year's Holidays
All libraries will close at 6pm on Tuesday, December 24 for the Christmas holiday, remaining closed through Wednesday, December 25. Normal hours will resume on Thursday, December 26.

All libraries will close again at 6pm on Tuesday, December 31 for the New Year's holiday, remaining closed through Wednesday, January 1. Normal hours will resume on Thursday, January 2, 2014.

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.

True in 2004 and still true in 2013

"It's truly surprising how many valuable books are donated to FOPAL" -Marty Paddock, 2004.

This is still true in 2013! It's because of this truth that FOPAL continues encouraging checking the value of uncommon books on the internet so that they can be given a price which is fair to our customers and high enough to ensure the Friends are maximizing their sales revenue.

This is why our Main Room book sale customers are likely to see some books priced higher than the Bargain Room prices of $1 for a hardback and 50 cents for a paperback. A suggested pricing guideline for pricing book using internet research is one-third to one-half of the on-line asking prices given the criteria of publisher, date, edition, signed copy, condition, and availability. So, if you see a book priced for $10 at a monthly sale, chances are this book would sell on-line for at least $30. That being said some books warrant higher prices, but are still a great deal to our "collecting and reader" customers.

One of FOPAL's challenges is to recognize those books that might be even more out-of-ordinary and of unusually high value say...where the Internet price is over $40.00. Now once these books have been identified, FOPAL then looks for other markets for them where they can be sold at prices well above what we might price and sell them for our monthly sale. FOPAL not only sells at sells books at the monthly sale but also at the Friends Kiosk (Downtown library) at auction and on-line.

If you can't attend the monthly sale, please drop by the Friends Kiosk located in the Downtown library during library hours. Books are priced $1 for hardbacks and 50 cents for paperbacks. The Friends Kiosk is restocked regularly with books for all interests. Or, shop our on-line book store All proceeds from book sales benefit the Palo Alto Libraries.

A Reminder
Please, no outside food or drink in FOPAL Book Sale rooms.


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.

Members Early Sale Saturday December 14

The annual Members Early sale is scheduled for Saturday December 14. If you're a member of the Friends of the Palo Alto Library, you'll be able to get in to the Main Room early! At this once-a-year event, Life Members are allowed to enter the sale at 9am and can purchase up to 50 books. Members at all other levels can enter the sale at 10am and purchase the normal 12 books at a time. Enjoy a less crowded main book room and get first crack at our wonderful collection of materials. Books are always a welcome Holiday treat!

And...for members, another special treat, artisan roasted coffee will be offered by long-time volunteer and coffee connoisseur Dean Ujihara. Here a list of the coffees he will likely roast for this Saturday's sale. They all come from Sweet Maria's:

  • Ethiopia Illubabor Baaroo SWP Decaf (medium intensity; ripe fruit and honey-like characteristics)
  • Rwanda Tumba Cocatu (medium intensity; sweet and floral cup)
  • Sulawesi AA Toarco Tana Toraja (medium intensity; bright (for an Indonesia), sweet, floral and clean foresty flavors and aromas)
  • Ethiopia Grade 1 Dry-Process Aramo (bold intensity; floral, dried and fresh fruits, caramel)
  • Guatemala Acatenango-Finca El Carmen (medium intensity; sweet and refined cup, red apple)

Tickets for early arrivers are handled differently at the Members Early sale. Tickets given out are for the 9am and 10am lines at the Main Room, since most people who come early are Members of the Friends. Each Member will get just one ticket, although Members at and above the $30 levels may bring in their families, consisting of one or two adults and children. No tickets will be given out for the 11am line.

You may renew your membership, or join FOPAL, that day!

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.

Section Managers Representing Their Sections

Making Merry in the Music Section

The music and dance book section covers a variety of dance and musical styles, from belly dancing to ballet and from Mozart to Lennon. Here are some of this month's new titles:

  • Dancers Among Us: A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday by Jordan Matter
  • Breaking Bounds: The Dance Photography of Lois Greenfield by William Ewing and Lois Greenfield
  • This Land was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie by Elizabeth Partridge
  • The Acoustical Foundations of Music by John Backus
  • And do you also play the violin? by Carl Flesch
  • 88: The Giants of Jazz Piano by Doesrschuk, Robert L. and Keith Jarrett
  • Music Game Book: A World History of 20th Century Music by David Fricke, Jean-Jacques Groleau, Thomas Mahler and Patrick Tchiakpe

My favorite book of the month is Give Out! Songs of, for and by the Men in the Service by Eric (et) Posselt. This book is from 1943 and not in good condition but it has charming illustrations and songs that reflect the military of those years. -Charlotte Epstein

Greeting Cards

Greeting cards in ALL categories including holiday can be found outside the main room at bargain prices. Greeting card price will increase to 50 cents per card in 2014. Get your cards this month at unbelievable prices. -Marda Buchholz

Oh What Fun-Historical Fiction

Historical fiction has been expanding in popularity and our Historical Fiction section is also expanding. This month we have a wonderful selection of books which are generally grouped by geographic areas. We also have special sections such as Sea Stories, Wars, Historical Thrillers, Writers, etc. The Sea Stories section is anchored by Patrick O'Brian, Historical Thrillers by Alan Furst and Great Britain by Phillippa Gregory, Edward Rutherford and Ken Follett.

Just in time for gift giving we have some very hard to find complete sets such as The Lymond Chronicles and The House of Niccolo by Dorothy Dunnet, a University of Chicago press edition of The Raj Quartet by Paul Scott, and three sets of books from Bethany House Press, one set in Russia, one in Ireland and one in the Western US. We are also featuring books from Ken Follett's new Century Trilogy. In addition we have a large collection of the classic, historical fiction writer, James Michener.

Shop Historical Fiction and learn more about history while enjoying a good story. -Karen Neier & Suzanne Little

Home & Craft for holidays

Good enough to give (or books Santa would love to put under the tree) is this month's feature from the Home & Craft section. This includes books on woodworking, beauty, crafts, home improvement, flower arranging, entertaining -- everything to make your home a more special place all year long. There are some nice gems to check out in the Better Book section too. May your Holidays be filled with good times and good reads in all your favorite subjects! -Nancy Welch

Humor for December

Humor is contagious, usually 2 bookcases with 10 shelves this month we have spread to 3 bookcases with 13 shelves. For convenience they are described as Right Wing, Left Wing and Ultra Left Wing.

Right Wing, upper shelves: Back by popular demand, small, cheap, colorful books that make excellent holiday gifts with the added holiday enhancement: easily erasable prices (after purchase, before wrapping).

Also included: Bill Bryson, A Short History of Everything

Oxford Press, The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (a series that runs from Beer to Shakespeare)

Right Wing, top right: A selection of quality cartoon books, such as New Yorker anthologies.

Worthy of note: I've Decided I Want my Seat Back, Bill Mauldlin, mostly Chicago Sun-Times from the period 1961 to 1965. You step back into the history of that turbulent time via an astonishing collection of highly opinionated cartoons. It seems he liked JFK a lot more than de Gaulle.

Right Wing, top left: Autographed Books: does anybody care? I have no idea as we have never had any before but now we have six so here's my chance to find out and report back.

We have signed books by: Dave Barry, In Cyberspace, Joe Bob Briggs, Iron Joe Bob, Jane Hamilton, Laura Rider, Allen Klein, Healing Power of Healing, Art Buchwald, The Buchwald Stops Here - dated 1978! Finally, not only signed but dedicated to Senator Milton Marks, Pat Welch, Humans.

This month's English Literature minor masterpiece: Diary of a Nobody, Grossmiths (first appeared in Punch 1892), a nondescript Penguin paperback in which the nondescript Mr. Pooter invites you to visit his family. And, Three Men in a Boat, by Jerome -- this is surely a masterpiece of its genre.

Gift ideas elsewhere: For the animal lover -- 32 books ranging from cats to zebras, the endless teenager -- 4 books on flatulence, the politico -- 5 books related to President G. W. Bush, and for the literary specialist - The Poetry of Richard Milhous Nixon.

Left Wing, top shelf: The Marx Brothers, Woody Allen and a raft of people you have probably seen on TV....Also, look for a full shelf covering the classic era from Robert Benchley up through the 40s, 50s and 60s. Of special note here is an excellent copy of Ervin Cobb's Speaking of Operations, the 1912 edition!

And of course our old favorites including, Dave Barry (15), James Thurber (10), Garrison Keillor (12), and O'Rourke (8) are well represented.

Ultra Left Wing, lower 3 shelves: Basically an assortment of books I could not get into the other two bookcases or moved to enhance the gifting experience, such as novels described as humorous by experts (New York Times, Orange County Register).

Cartoons- 99% of our cartoon collection is over in the Bargain Room, and 99% of them will be only 50 cents!

"If Being is Being-less, obviously Nothing can't be up to much," Sartre, whose funeral was described at the time as "well attended". -Nigel Jones

Philosophy for December

The Philosophy section is in the main aisle in two adjacent bookcases with each bookcase having a slightly different focus.

Left Bookcase: This bookcase focuses on books by or about specific philosophers. Many of the old favorites are here again this month such as Aristotle (14), Dewey (5), Nietzsche (4), Plato (22), and Thoreau, (11).

Noteworthy this month:

William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, Emerson, Complete Writings, 1929 edition with some wear.

Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, 2 vols. Arlington House & Wealth of Nations, Modern Library with jacket, 1937.

Plato, Dialogues of Plato, Volume 1, Benjamin Jowett, considered to be one of the greatest translators of Plato.

Also, we have 10 books relating to Chinese philosophy, located on the bottom shelf with two excellent books on Confucius, Sage of the Road, and The Global Confucius.

Right Bookcase: This bookcase focuses on books about philosophy. This includes dictionaries, encyclopedia sets, and single volumes from sets, histories of philosophy or specific groups of philosophers or schools of thought.

Top Shelf: Scanlon, What We Are to Each Other, Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Martin Jay, Songs of Experience, Lakoff, Philosophy in the Flesh, de Botton, Consolations of Philosophy, Cornel West, Hope on a Tightrope, Simon Blackburn, Think and Cohen, Glass, Paper, Beans.

Second shelf- 34 books related to Ethics and Morals (new arrivals: Margalit, Svensen, Narveson, Appiah)

And, for all the philosophy books that have been well traveled don't forget to visit the Bargain Room.

A thank you to Philosophy buyers -- as of November you have bought over 1,000 books this year! Thanks for your support! -Nigel Jones

Book sets for the season

Have you always wanted to browse the Oxford English Dictionary and explore the riches of the English language? On aisle 6 you can find our two volume set of the Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary for only $60. Or have a look at other interesting sets we are offering this month:

  • 8 Volumes of Tales from Italian and Spanish (in English) for $15.
  • 25 Volumes of 1931 Funk and Wagnalls New Standard Encyclopedia for $25
  • 12 Volumes of 1927-28 The Works - Blacks Reader Service for $20
  • 6 Volumes of 1930 Lowell Thomas Adventure Series for $10
  • 15 Volumes of 1934 Compton's Pictured Encyclopedia for $50

Children's Room Great Book Selection & Giving Back

The donations for the Children's Room have been tremendous this past month and the shelves are FULL! One exceptional donation was a large number of books for kids in Hebrew. And, check out an entire shelf of early reader books with holiday themes.

Interested in giving back? Look for a book donation basket for our customers to place purchased books destined for Palo Alto's sister city Palo in the Philippines. FOPAL is excited to be able to help this devastated area rebuild their destroyed library. Long-time volunteer Joe Mandell is spearheading this effort as well as assisting with shipping our generous book donation. Thanks, Children's Room volunteers for your time helping create and promote this deserving endeavor!

Children's Room: Arushi's recommendations

Once upon a time, The Giver by Lois Lowry was thought of as such a controversial book that schools were encouraged not to read it to their students...but now, people appreciate the true meaning of it. In a fictional society, everything is controlled and everyone's lives are planned out by receiving an Assignment on the day of the Ceremony of the Twelves. Unlike the other Twelves, Jonas does not have a clue about what his Assignment might be, and by the time December comes around, Jonas is extremely apprehensive. In the Ceremony, Jonas's name is skipped! It turns out that he has been greatly honored by the job of the Receiver of Memory. But when Jonas starts his Assignment, he starts to realize that his "perfect" community might not be that perfect after all. Filled with extraordinary social commentary, The Giver is a wonderful book cleverly sewing together Lois Lowry's thoughts on our society today and Jonas's path to finding a place where he belongs.

Everyone loves mystery books, and everyone loves it when intriguing plots lead in unexpected directions, right? Well, the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene is just that. These books feature a young sleuth named, coincidentally, Nancy Drew, whose passion for solving mysteries often lead to trouble for her and her sidekicks, Bess and George. Nancy Drew or her friends are kidnapped, rescued, tied up, and attempted to be killed repeatedly on her quest to bring justice to the world. Even the most puzzling mysteries can be solved by the clever and witty Nancy Drew! The style of writing and the context of this series might be a little vintage, and there are new and revised Nancy Drew books available, but I prefer reading these ones because of their originality. Carolyn Keene (or whoever is using that pseudonym) vividly describes the exciting adventures of Nancy Drew in the Nancy Drew series.

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.