Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

Saturday August 9
Ephemera 8am - 4pm
Bargain and Children's Rooms 10am - 4pm
Room H1 10am - 4pm SATURDAY ONLY
Main Room Sale 11am - 4pm
Tent Sale 9am - 4pm

Sunday August 10
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Children's Books
Room H1
Historical Fiction
Political Science


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 Labor Day Holiday
All libraries will be closed on Sunday, August 31, and Monday, September 1, for the Labor Day holiday. Normal hours will resume on Tuesday, September 2.

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.

Super Special Saturday Sale in Room H1 August 9th, 10am-4pm

Stop by Cubberley Room H1 this Saturday to check out the selection of Bargain Room books that were too much to fit on the shelves in H2! FOPAL received a large donation of children's books from a local elementary school library this summer so...the overflow is being offered this Saturday only in Room H1. The children's books in Room H1 will be sold for 25 cents each or five for $1.

It's the help of volunteers that gets this done. FOPAL's Assistant Treasurer Camille Sorrant and Stanford Sophomore Nathan Butler (member of the Stanford Wrestling team) have been putting in some hard work sorting this BIG KIDS BOOK donation for the August sale. FOPAL customers will reap the rewards of all their hard work on Saturday. Look for Nathan and more of the Stanford Wresting team (Josh Marchok & Peter Russo) to be cashiering for this special sale too!

In addition to these books we'll also be selling a donated collection of Asimov's Science Fiction magazines from the first issue in 1977 to somewhere in the 1990s. "Sci-fi in H1: Get your sense of wonder on; we're blowing out 15 boxes of sci-fi magazines on Saturday! Analog from 1976 to 1989, Asimov's from 1977 to 1990s, F&SF throughout the 1980s, some issues missing, some duplicates, 10 cents each or five for 25 cents!" -Frank McConnell

For those not familiar with Asimov's Science Fiction it is an American science fiction magazine which publishes science fiction and fantasy and perpetuates the name of author and biochemist Isaac Asimov. And for FYI - Analog Science Fiction and Fact is an American science fiction magazine. As of 2013, it is the longest running continuously published magazine of that genre. It is in the library of the International Space Station. Spanning three incarnations since 1930, this is perhaps the most influential magazine in the history of the genre. It remains a fixture of the genre today.

And a late addition to this room, 10-15 boxes of romance paperbacks. We are hoping to blow these out for 25 cents each or five for $1 (same price as the children's books in Room H1).

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.

Children's Book Room

Up until about June of this year the volunteers in the Children's Room were concerned they didn't have enough donations and their shelves seemed a bit empty. So as if all their wishes and wants were heard by every mother within a 10 mile radius and they in unison decreed "Kids, clean your rooms, gather all your gently used books and let's bring them down to the Friends of the Palo Alto Library to donate." Thankfully our cries were heard and now the Children's Room is all full up. We have books in every area, parenting, classic board games, puzzles, Klutz Books, teen reads, sci-fi, middle-grade fiction, Early Chapter Books, Nancy Drew and more! Come early for the best selection and enjoy the bounty of books.

Collectible Children Books Offered

FOPAL intern and recent Mills College library science graduate, Charlotte Cutkosky has been busy listing oodles of FOPAL's stash of high-value children's books. So, if you're looking for more collectible children's books check out FOPAL on-line at

New Books or Nearly New Books - Historical Fiction & Politics

A recent donation included several boxes containing a new book, West of Here, a novel by Jonathan Evison. "Set in the fictional town of Port Bonita, on Washington State's rugged Pacific coast, West of Here is propelled by a story that both re-creates and celebrates the American experience--it is storytelling on the grandest scale. With one segment of the narrative focused on the town's founders circa 1890, and another showing the lives of their descendants in 2006, the novel develops as a kind of conversation between two epochs, one rushing blindly toward the future and the other struggling to undo the damage of the past." (As seen at

Also, look for first editions of The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, by Barack Obama. "While a Senate candidate, Obama delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic Convention, entitled The Audacity of Hope that propelled him to national prominence. In the less than twenty minutes it took to deliver the speech, Obama was catapulted to sudden fame, with many analysts predicting that he might be well positioned to enter a future presidential race. In 2006, Obama released The Audacity of Hope, a book-length account that expanded upon many of the same themes he originally addressed in the convention speech." - Wikipedia

There's a special display of both of these books in the last set of bookshelves near the check-out line. Both are being offered for a mere $2 each.


Althea Andersen, FOPAL's Empress of Ephemera offers a bounty of gems including: vintage magazines, sheet music, maps, office supplies, pamphlets, stationary, small electronics, and photo frames, most priced at 25 cents unless otherwise marked. This month Althea received dozens of ceramic decorative items including, vases and sculptures as well as other large ephemera treasures. You'll find these available in inside in a special Ephemera area located on the top of the book shelves in our Main Sale Room. A reminder, our monthly sale begins at 8 AM with the outside Ephemera sale. If you are here early this Saturday you can help Althea move the ephemera sale carts outside including at least two carts of framed art!

German Language Books

Can you read German? If yes, then for this month again have we got a special for you! One "specials" bay has been dedicated to a large donation of books in German. European Language section manager Susan Strain mentioned that we have received enough books to feature this special for July as well as August. Look for these books in the first bay to your right as you enter the main room, labeled "Deutsch Sonderteil - German Special".

Postcards - All Together Now

Look for Postcards back in their usual spot across from the cashiers' table. Most of our postcards are all "like new" with no written messages and are carefully arranged by longtime volunteer Rommel Struckus. Rommel is also a retired NASA employee as well as expert about picture postcards featuring early 20th century travel, early aviation and steam trains, La Grand Hotels, real photos, space, and the Cold War-era US Air Force.

Section Managers Representing Their Sections

The Path from War to Peace

"In August we continue our special sale focusing on the topics of war, peace and terrorism, and how such practices as conflict resolution, mediation, negotiation, diplomacy and reconciliation, when combined with forgiveness, human rights and justice can move nations and individuals from open conflict to mutual respect and peace. Titles of new additions include: Rebel Hearts, Dilemmas of Trust, Crying in the Wilderness, and Friends and Enemies." -Nigel Jones

Gardening for August

"For those of you homeowners who are trying to figure out how to conserve water in your garden without ending up with a barren wasteland, the Gardening section has just the books for you! In our Waterside/CA/Dry subsection (on the far right/middle shelf) we've got such titles as Xeriscape Gardening, Beyond the Lawn, Ornamental Grasses, and Growing California Native Plants. We also have many books on cultivating wildflowers and several books on "hardscaping" (i.e. using stone and paving). And don't forget, herbs are also drought-tolerant, and in our Herbs subsection, we have many fascinating books about growing herbs and designing herb gardens." -Ann Justice


"OUTSIDE the main room on the card cart are individual greeting cards priced at 5 cards for 50 cents. Also, on the cart are bookmarks, stationery, packages of ROSH HASHANAH cards and THANK YOU cards. INSIDE the main room, across from the cashiers and below postcards are packages of blank greeting cards." -Marda Buchholz

Philosophy for August 2014

"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.

All recent arrivals are in the right bookcase on the top 2 shelves. New arrivals include: Utopias and Utopian Thought by Manuel, Sophie's World by Gaarder, Prejudices by Nisbet, Semantics by Wettstein, True Success by Morris, Courage by Servan-Schreiber and, a biography of Emerson by Allen." -Nigel Jones

History's Shelves Are Packed Again!

"We're having a mini-special on Ireland and have included Historical Fiction along with History in case you're interested in reading about Ireland but would like a lighter approach. Look for this special on the top shelf of Sets. We also have multiple copies of a very nice new book, Gandhi, the Man, which includes 70 photographs. It is in the Sets subsection as is the most recent edition of the complete set of The History of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant." -Suzanne Little & K.C. Sarr

Historical Fiction

"England is bursting at the seams! In fact, I've pushed Ireland over to History this month to make more room for books about England. If you haven't read Hilary Mantel's last two books, each one a winner of the Booker Prize, there are multiple copies of each of them. There is also an unusual selection of sets this month. I can almost guarantee that if you read the first book in the series you'll be happy that you don't have to search for the next book as you will have enjoyed the first book in the series so much. The center section of Historical Fiction also has several other specials this month and the 'wall' shelves have many books that we have not had before or only occasionally." -Suzanne Little

Humor for August

"It looks like August is British Humor Month.\240Recent arrivals include: three books by Monty Python, 7 books by P. G. Wodehouse, a compilation from Frank Muir, a J. B. Priestley anthology, a Harry Secombe memoir and, a Spike Milligan memoir, scripts from Gavin and Stacey and Fawlty Towers. In cartoons we have several excellent collections from the New Yorker. As usual we have a diverse selection of humor, from presidents to pets and from Dave Barry to Robert Benchley to Andy Rooney to W. C. Fields. Also worthy of note, take a look at American Comic Anthology 2007. You will find many more Humor books, in particular a great selection of cartoons, over in the Bargain Room." -Nigel Jones

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.
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