Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

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

Sunday February 9
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Super Soviet Special
Spring Holidays
Children's Room
Gift Certificates


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 used 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 bags) 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 President's Day Holiday
All libraries will be closed on Sunday, February 16 and Monday, February 17 for the President's Day holiday. Normal hours will resume on Tuesday, February 18.

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.


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.

Tremendous, Voluminous, Mammoth Book Sale!

You'll find some heart-warming Valentine's Day gifts at this weekend's sale on a Spring Holiday special book case near the fiction area (southwest corner) of the Main Room. Althea Andersen is working on an entire bay of books she's been saving just for the month of February. And...if you're not quite sure what kind of books your valentine will love, you can also buy gift certificates in denominations of $5 from the Main room cashiers.

If you're looking for something more serious for your February read, check out the Soviet Super Sale that section managers Nigel Jones, Jim Johnson and Suzanne Little have created from a large donation of soviet books we received last year. The Soviet Super Sale includes books from several areas of interest including History, Military History, Philosophy and Historical Fiction. So if you've always been interested in the Stalin era or post-Stalinist power struggle and the Khrushchev Era...then February at FOPAL is the month to shop and buy books from the Soviet Super Sale!

February is also Black History Month and all the more significant as we just celebrated Martin Luther King Day, and this past August, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. The Children's Room has a special they've created titled African American History Month. Look for books on the history of slavery, freedom riders, the Underground Railroad buffalo soldiers, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many more.

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.

Preview Our New Web Site

The new face of FOPAL has arrived! Please check out our redesigned and now activated web site at:

Changes Coming to This Newsletter Too

Our new hosting provider has some additional requirements for e-mail newsletters (like this one) and we are going to have to ask you to re-confirm your subscription to this newsletter. Look out for an e-mail from this address later this month, it will have a link for you to click to confirm your subscription. We're still managing the mailing list, but our new provider has more and better anti-spam policies in place.

Super Soviet Special

To celebrate the February Revolution of 1917 and the Sochi Games of 2014 this month's featured book sale is dedicated to all things Soviet. An extensive collection across three bookcases it includes Soviet era books on history, sociology, economics, politics and philosophy. Sections include: biography, autobiography and memoirs, Soviet publishers such as Progress Publishers, and Marx, Engels and Lenin. The espionage section ranges from its own services and their moles, to their enemies: the KGB, Philby and friends, MI6 and the CIA.

Sets: Plekhanov (6 vols.), Leninism (2 vols.), Lenin in Profile (2 vols.), Solzhenitsyn (3 vols.), Marx and Engels (3 vols.) -Nigel Jones

Spring Holidays

February means two things. Valentine's Day is just around the corner and Spring Training is about to begin. Althea Andersen, section manager for the Sports section as well as Spring Holidays is busy putting together a selection of Spring Holiday books she's been holding on to from the past year. Althea's periodically pull several boxes of books she's been saving and offers them to our customers. Look for a featured selection of the Spring Holiday special books displayed on the end cap shelves near the front of the main room by the check-out line. -Thanks Althea for creating this special for FOPAL's February Sale!

Children's Room

The Children's Room has a nice selection of books pertaining to black history geared towards younger readers. Here are but a handful of titles you'll find offered for Black History month: Freedom Train; The Story of Harriet Tubman by Dorothy Sterling, To Be a Slave, by Julius Lester, a Newbery Honor Book; Samuel Morris, Missionary to America, by W. Terry Whalin. Look for these books and many more on the bookshelf with the picture of Martin Luther King displayed on it. And, you could own all four of the above books for a mere seven dollars!

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"

Philosophy for February

Recent additions and noteworthy for February include: Emerson - Self-Reliance, Popper - Lesson of this Century, Beauchamp - Bioethics, Girvetz - Science, Folklore and Philosophy, Cleary - Confucius, Plato - Xanthippic Dialogues, Magee - Confessions of a Philosopher, and Norris' biography of Derrida.

The existential dilemma of book sales could be expressed as: donations>sales or die. In other words, I want your unwanted Philosophy books. In fact all of my colleagues and I want all of your unwanted books. Never going to read it? Never going to re-read it? Don't want it? We would be happy to take it!

Isaac Newton: Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.

Meanings, time to simplify, give us your books. -Nigel Jones

Music Books for February

Here are the highlights in this month's Music and Dance section:

Martha Graham Sixteen Dances in Photographs
Prime Movers: The Makers of Modern Dance in America
How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond Bachanalia: The Essential Listener's Guide to Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier
Inside Early Music: Conversation with Performers
The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics
Here There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles
The Book of Metal: The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Metal Music Ever Created
True Tales from the Mad, Mad, Mad World of Opera
The Long Hard Road Out of Hell by Marilyn Manson
This month's quirky item - RCA Victor - The Music America Loves Best - March 1952 to August 1952-Charlotte Epstein

Greeting Cards

In cards this month, in addition to single cards, there is a large selection of packaged cards. Single card prices changed to 50 cents a card this year. Packaged cards are priced as marked. -Marda Buchholz


This month the Gardening section offers lots of current, nearly new books on: landscape design, famous gardens, growing roes and perennials and how-to guides on growing fruits, vegetables and herbs in Northern California. -Ann Justice

Humor for February

This month's gem in humor is Gavin and Stacey, an inspired comedy delving into cross-cultural misunderstanding and love in the 21st century set against a backdrop of rabid colonialism. That it's set in my hometown is a coincidence.

Other highlights include new novels by Roy Blount Jr. and Nick Hornby, The Middle-Aged Baby, Men will be Boys, The Wicked Wit of Churchill, The Hacker's Dictionary, The Food Chain, and Kawakami's Useless Inventions. Wodehouse fans - there are 24 novels over in the Bargain Room! -Nigel Jones

Fiction readers!

When it's your turn to suggest a title for your book club, look for ideas in "What Book Groups Are Reading." This month, for example, you'll find My Antonio by Willa Cather (1918); Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis (1953); Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (2012); Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (2012); and Benediction by Kent Haruf (2013); plus many others. -Marian Knox

Home & Craft

In honor of Chinese New Year (and perhaps to expedite your own New Year's resolutions) organize your home and life the Feng Shui way by visiting the Home and Craft feature of the month section. Don't forget to also check the Totally Random section for all sorts of surprises. -Nancy Welch

History & Historical Fiction

The History section has a large selection of Lakeside Press books in pristine condition. We also have many of our History as well as Politics books in the Soviet special this month. We have been collecting these books for months. You will find an extensive selection of very old and rare books in addition to recent publications. -Suzanne Little

Historical Fiction has a large and diverse selection of Bernard Cornwall books this month. We also have a nice selection of "like-new" Patrick O'Brian hardback books. -Suzanne Little

Children's Room - Arushi's Recommendations

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse is a Newbery Medal winning book that depicts a fictional girl's life in the Dust Bowl. It is a story told in free-verse about Billie Jo, a 14-year-old girl who wants nothing more than to escape the dust. The one thing that keeps Billie Jo going is playing the piano, which she plays beautifully, though not as good as her mother. Out of the Dust is a book that delves into the meaning of family and sticking together through the hard times. Although many tragic things happen in this story, I definitely recommend reading it because it reflects the reality of the Great Depression.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling is a classic tale of a young boy's journey to belong to the world he has been torn apart from for so long. The story starts when Harry is 10 years old, sleeping inside a closet of his Muggle aunt and uncle's house. Mysterious letters start arriving, and when Uncle Vernon gets spooked by them, he takes the family to an old shack in the middle of the sea. Harry is celebrating his 11th birthday alone at midnight when Hagrid, the giant gamekeeper at Hogwarts, a magical institution for young witches and wizards, bangs down the door and tells Harry the truth: he is a wizard. All seven Harry Potter books are full of the same wondrous tales of humor and magic, and your life will not be complete until you witness J.K. Rowling's imagination firsthand.

Kaya is a Native American from the Nez Perce tribe in the 1700s, when the the tribe encounters white settlers for the first time. The whole series of books talks about Nez Perce culture, and lessons they teach their children. Kaya is a brave girl who finds herself in trouble often. She has many hair-raising adventures that teach her how to keep up her bravery and think fast. Although this book is a fiction story, it accurately depicts the struggles of Native American life, and is a great read for students when they are learning about Native American history and culture. -Arushi Sinha

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