Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

Saturday April 12
Ephemera 8am - 4pm
Bargain and Children's Rooms 10am - 4pm
Main Room Sale 11am - 4pm
Tent Sale 9am - 4pm

Sunday April 13
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Soviet Special
India Special
Greeting Cards
LP Records
Children's Room


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

Maps and Directions
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 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 green FOPAL reusable bags from us for $2/ea (or bring your own grocery-size reusable bag) and stuffing them with any items in the room for $5/bag. Fill four bags at $5/bag and fill a fifth bag FREE! (We no longer receive sufficient used paper grocery bags along with donations for this purpose.)

Library Closings for Easter Holiday
All libraries will be closed on Sunday, April 20 for the Easter holiday. Normal hours will resume on Monday, April 21.

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 2014

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

This is still true in 2014! 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 $2 for hardbacks and $1 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 about the 12-Book Limit
Most people who come to our sales early on Saturday are enthusiastic, cooperative, and they appreciate the reasons for our 12-book limit, which is in force only until the Sale Manager announces that the limit is lifted. This usually happens around noon; earlier when all who are in line have been admitted, and when the Fire Department's occupancy limit is no longer a problem.

Shoppers may not bring in more than one bag per customer, or any oversize bags. Standard grocery-sized bags are okay - and of course we encourage the use of our highly visible flashy green FOPAL bags, for sale outside the entry ramp. Please remember that boxes and large backpacks are a safety hazard, and we cannot allow them when the book room is crowded.

We will remove shoppers from the sale if the they refuse to limit the number of books in their possession to 12. A reminder: as always, customers are welcome to choose 12 books, pay for them, exit Marty's room and re-enter as many times as they wish, honoring the waiting line if it is still in existence.

Our goal is to make our book sales as pleasant and rewarding as possible, for as many customers as possible. We are grateful for the support of most of our shoppers for shopping according to our rules. We ask for the commitment of our "business clients" in considering the rights of all of our customers and observing our rules. -FOPAL Book Sale Committee


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.

Soviet & India Specials, Greeting Cards, LPs, Children's Room, and Romance

The Soviet Special was one of our featured subjects last month. We've held over the unsold books from the last sale and added more that we didn't have room for. There are lots of Fiction titles by Soviet authors and stories set in Russia. Most are featured in the center case outside the sorting room, others you'll find in the appropriate sections.... Right next to the Soviet Special books you'll find a collection of books on India, including some nice Indian history books. There is a new assortment of LPs on offer below the India Special as we had a large donation of vinyl last month. Look for more LPs from this donation in the Bargain Room/H2. There are more books in the Spring Holidays Special, another one of last month's specials (more arrived this month).... and added to this special you'll find dozens of new Greeting Cards, both boxed and individual. A card loving collector bestowed upon us 10+ banker boxes all labeled "cards". Look for many more boxed cards in the Outside Tent/Dollar sale. Also, large amount of "like new" children's books/early readers came in during March. The shelves in the Children's Room as well as the allotted space in the Bargain Room are both overflowing. Looking for more Romance in your life this April? It's easy to find in the Bargain Room/H2 this month and likely for several months to come. Look for packed shelves and titles from all your favorite Romance writers.

In the Main Room a section switch was made to accommodate a larger, more visible area for the Gardening section. Gardening switched places with Reference which gives Reference just the right amount of shelf room to accommodate its current space needs. If you can't find your favorite section please ask one of our friendly volunteers for help at the sale.

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 photos.

The old shelf preview photos work too.

Section Managers' Mentions for April Sale

Each section's selection of books for each sale is determined by the type of donations we've received. Here at FOPAL we lovingly call all our generous donations "inventory." Here's what Section Managers have to say about what's new in their areas!

Spring into Gardening for April

This month the Gardening section offers many intriguing, inspirational, informative, and downright instructional volumes. April is the prime month for planting veggies and herbs and to aid your efforts there are books on organic gardening, growing more vegetables than you ever thought possible, growing in California conditions, growing your own salad, companion planting, designing an edible landscape, and of course last but not least, two copies of Rebugging Your Home and Garden, or how to ward off insects that also wish to dine on your edibles. Given our current drought, there is even the timely guide, Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond. -Ann Justice

Home & Craft Ideas for Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning and fix it up time--You know you have to do this-- don't procrastinate--just stop by Home & Craft to see this month's featured books on this dirty subject. We can turn your spring cleaning into a spring breeze. -Nancy Welch

Modern Literature: Books by John O'Hara

John O'Hara (1905-1970) was a best-selling and prolific writer. He was also a famously difficult, self-promoting, insecure curmudgeon. His first successful works of fiction were short stories, more than 200 of them published in The New Yorker. His first novel, published in 1934--before he was 30--was Appointment in Samarra, which received some critical acclaim and was a best seller. Other novels include Butterfield 8, Pal Joey, and Ten North Frederick, all of which were made into movies. In Modern Literature, Aisle 14, we have a large selection of O'Hara's books, featured on a top shelf. -Scottie Zimmerman

Spring Greeting Cards & More!

We have cards for special days--Passover, Easter, Administrative Professionals Day, and Mothers Day - as well as regular greeting cards, all for just 50 cents apiece. A tub of stationery items is also on the card cart at various prices. -Marda Buchholz

Humor April 2014

Since the last sale we have had an avalanche of books for the Humor section, 600 or more have been donated, and we only have space in the Main Room for about 300. As a result, to clear the decks, the Main Room is going to be an even better bargain than the Bargain Room! All books in Humor in the Main Room, whether great or small, hard or soft, will be only 50 cents for April. The good books are priceless and even the others must be 50 cents worth of funny. And if you don't like it, just donate it back; we will take it. As for the Bargain Room, 600 - 300 means there are another 300 more books over there. -Nigel Jones

History and Politics for April

History and Politics are both filled with recently published and/or unusual books this month. The shelves in the Great Britain section are particularly notable. We have a large collection on Iran in the International Politics and History section. Serious history buffs and scholars will be delighted with April's special on Historiography. The Political Theory section also has an extensive selection this month. Liberal, conservative, libertarian, internationalist, or isolationist; we have a full spectrum of political positions and analysis represented in our Politics inventory this month. Enjoy! -Suzanne Little

Prize Winners in Fiction

Readers of General Fiction: April is a great month to look for books in the sections labeled "Award-Winning Authors." For example, we have books by 11 Nobel winners including Yasunari Kawabata (1968) and Alice Munro (2013). National Book Award, 18 authors. Man Booker Award, 21 authors. Pulitzer Prize, 25 authors. International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, five authors. In addition, 39 authors are represented in the section, "What Book Groups are Reading." -Marian Knox

Philosophy for April

The two philosophy bookcases are arranged so that the left one is primarily about specific philosophers, their works and commentaries on their works, whereas the right is more to do with philosophical topics, historical overviews and schools of thought. The selection of books relating to ethics continues to grow and this month we have a shelf and a half dedicated to it. Most new arrivals are in the top two shelves of the right bookcase and include Utopias and Utopian Thought, Manuel, Meaning and Existence, Blackstone, Confessions of a Philosopher, Magee, Postmodernism, Ward and Philosophy in the Flesh, Lakoff. New arrivals in the left bookcase include The Essential Piaget, Heidegger's Basic Writings, Martin Heidegger, George Steiner, and Hegel's The Science of Logic. -Nigel Jones

Spring Selections from Music & Dance

This month's book selections in the Music & Dance section are mainly from the classical genre. Composition for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt, Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt, How to Make and Play the Dulcimore by Chet Hines, Hildegard of Bingen: A Visionary Life by Sabina Flanagan, The Unanswered Question: Six Talks at Harvard by Leonard Bernstein, Guide to Pianist's Repertoire and Supplement by Maurice Hinson (1979), Glenn Gould Variations - By Himself and His Friends by John McGreevy, Andrew Lloyd Weber: His Life and Works by Michael Walsh (shrink wrapped copy). Next to the music books you will find a large collection of sheet music - study books for violin and viola; all kinds of music for piano, percussion and drums, brass instruments, harmonica and blues harp and many other choices. -Charlotte Epstein

Interesting Offerings of April in the Sets/Collections Area

Story of the Great War (WWI) 1916 - 8 volumes for $25, Works of Theodore Roosevelt 1889 - 7 volumes for $35, Smithsonian Series 1944 - 12 volumes for $40, New Masters Pictorial Encyclopedia 1953 - 8 volumes for $20, American Nation 1889 - 3 volumes for $25, Ridpath History of the United States 1894 - 4 volumes for $25, World's Best Orations from Earliest to Present 1900 - 10 volumes for $20, Memoirs of Jacques Casanova, Privately Printed - 12 volumes for $30. -Charlotte Epstein

Red Dots in Health

The Health section has an exciting new feature we are sure you will like: the "Red Dot". Each month we offer dozens of books still sold in bookstores everywhere. Many are best sellers! To make them easier for you to identify we have placed red dots on their spines... and the savings are truly amazing. This month our shelves are packed -- when you visit our section don't forget to read the article we have posted about Kevin Trudeau, the popular but controversial author of numerous self-help books. It appears he has 'helped' himself to 10 years in federal prison for fraud. Take a look at his books -- what is your opinion? Always interesting reading in the Health section...we hope to see you there! -Karen & Verne

Children's Room - Arushi's Recommendations

The Secret School by Avi is an amazing tale of the determination of a 14-year-old in the 1920s who desperately wants to go to high school so she can earn her degree in teaching. Coming from a family of sheep farmers in Western Colorado, Ida's dream is very ambitious, and the only way for her to reach it is to pass her 8th grade finals. However, the one and only school in the county unexpectedly closes down in the middle of the year, and because of the shortage of funds, they won't be getting another teacher, so Ida can't take her 8th grade finals. Ida's dreams are crushed, until her best friend suggests that she herself becomes the teacher of 1st through 8th grade students. Can she do it, or will she have to give up her dream of going to high school?

Shannon Hale, in The Princess Academy, tells another girl empowering story. Miri, a small mountain girl, longs to work in the quarry next to her village, like the other girls her age. She dreams of being part of the quarry-speech, a kind of communication that mountain-folk have that allows them to speak to each other through their memories. When she is told that a prince will be coming to the mountains to pick out a bride from their village, and every girl of suitable age must attend a Princess Academy to prepare them for society, Miri is incredulous. Nevertheless, Miri is forced to leave her beloved mountain for this academy, and she soon learns that the secrets of quarry-speech lie within the walls of the school. When danger approaches the girls' new home, Miri must use her wits and her new-found talents to rescue herself and her friends.

For more mature children who are interested in futuristic science-fiction, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card is a thought-provoking story that has fascinated me ever since I first read it. Andrew "Ender" Wiggin is six years old when he is recruited for Battle School, an academy designed to identify the brightest young children in the world to command a fleet that will attack the Buggers, an invading alien species nearly destroyed Earth less than 100 years ago. Though he's only six, Ender is put through the toughest years of his life at Battle School, a school that orbits Earth in space. Time is running out to find the perfect commander, and Ender is the best chance Earth's got to protect the human species. Ender's Game, now a movie, has a complicated plot involving science, politics, and human psychology that has impacted me so much. Whenever I read it, I find myself wondering if Ender is ready to fight for humanity, or will this training crush him forever? -Arushi Sinha

Tom Wyman, Library Champion and Activist, Dies at 86

Tom Wyman became active in the Friends of the Palo Alto Library in the 1990s. Tom Wyman's mother was involved in forming the Friends and was its membership chair. Wyman loved the city's libraries, and in the decades between the 1990s until the end of his life, he dedicated much of his time to enhancing them. He was especially proud of his work with Friends of Palo Alto Library book sales. In 1999, Wyman wrote a book, Palo Alto and its Libraries, a Long Time Love Affair. That year, he and Ellen were instrumental in creating the city's library advisory commission. Tom Wyman became its first chair. Tom Wyman currently held a position on the FOPAL Board of Directors. Wyman is survived by his wife, Ellen, daughter Susan, son Tom, and four grandchildren.

A memorial service will take place April 18th at 11am, at Lucie Stern Community Center Ballroom, 1305 Middlefield Rd, Palo Alto.

The family requests donations to FOPAL in lieu of flowers. For those interested, there are instructions on our web site.

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.