Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

Saturday September 13
Ephemera 8am - 4pm
Bargain and Children's Rooms 10am - 4pm
Main Room Sale 11am - 4pm
Tent Sale 9am - 4pm

Sunday September 14
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Children's Room
Bargain Room
Signed Books
Philosophy/Morality & Ethics
Free Nights


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.)

Temporary Mitchell Park Library Is Closing
The Temporary Mitchell Park Library at Cubberley Community Center will be closing permanently at 6pm on Friday September 26 so that preparations can begin for a soft opening of the Mitchell Park Library in early November. The Grand Opening is scheduled for Saturday December 6.

The City and the Library have a web page about this and about an event being held on Saturday September 27 to introduce the new Mitchell Park Library and Community Center. It's more information than we can put here, so look there:

There is also a list of frequently-asked questions, which is of general interest, but also of particular interest to Mitchell Park Library customers and LINK+ customers.

If you have a book that you've been using at the Temporary Mitchell Park Library and you'd like to continue to use it during the closure, you should come in and check the book out. The Library is waiving fines on most media for the duration of the closure, for this purpose.
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 4pm to 6pm. 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.

Donations are always welcome at the Friends of the Palo Alto Library. Just bring them to our Main Room, at the Cubberley Community Center campus. We have regular hours for accepting donations, 2pm to 4pm Monday through Saturday.

That being said...FOPAL requests you drop off donations before or after the weekend sale, and NOT during the sale. FOPAL sales are the second weekend of each month. During the sale the FOPAL donation center can be extremely crowded with boxes of books being held for the next sale, making little or no room to accept incoming donations. Please help us by donating before or after the book sale.

Thank you - Friends of the Palo Alto Library - Book Sale Committee.

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.


For the upcoming September Sale, look for lots of treasures in our Ephemera area. We believe the increase in donations of ephemera to FOPAL is as a result of the closing of the Bargain Box on California Ave. You'll surely want to see all the non-book items in the outside ephemera sale, especially large size framed art, sculptures, ceramics and several antique pieces. Also, more of these larger non-book donations have been priced and held back in FOPAL's off-site storage area for a super special Thanksgiving Sale, Saturday November 8th 2014 in Room H-1 (next door to the Bargain Room). Think "silver and silver plate serving pieces, carved African statues, hard wood tikis, porcelain collectables...." And, a collection of unique books high-value guru Jerry Stone has been saving for just such an opportunity like this one.

Children's Room

Donations were especially strong since the last sale, and as we had a backlog from August, and five weeks between sales, the Children's Room shelves are sagging under the weight of all the books. This means a great selection for buyers; this will be a great sale.... The poetry section is jammed with great books and a special subsection of poetry is being offered by famed author Shel Silverstein: Where the Sidewalk Ends, Falling Up and A Light in the Attic.

If antique doll furniture is more to your liking look for two adorable metal high-chairs, a wooden crib, and a three story sturdy wooden doll house/Houseworks brand and furniture!

For our children's book vintage book collectors check the "red carts" for what's been pulled, priced and researched by retired children's book librarian Nancy Hurxthal and her assistant Tyler Vinciguerra this month. One worth mentioning is a big blue book, Laurent de Brunhoff's Babar's Cousin, that Rascal Arthur, a Random House book from 1946.

Arusha's picks from the Children Room

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney is a comic book about the middle school experience of a boy who isn't exactly ready for it. This book shows how he and his best friend, Rowley, deal with their middle school situation in a hilarious way. The story is brought to life as the boy, Greg, records words and pictures in his diary. It has even been made into a movie, and many more books follow this first one. All of them follow the same theme: growing up before you're ready. Immensely popular, Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a funny and unique read.

A Little Princess is one of my favorite books of all time, because it tells the story of a little girl who braves all sorts of horrible things just with her imagination. Sara Crewe is the daughter of a rich man, and they absolutely adore each other. However, Sara is sent to boarding school in London while her father returns to India. She is much loved by many of the students at the school, when the most terrible news arrives. Overnight, Sara is transformed from the richest girl in the school to a poor scullery maid who sleeps in the attic. Mistreated and sad, she must find a way to survive on little bits of her imagination. How can she get through this awful nightmare?

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.

Bargain Room

Reports this week from our Bargain Room volunteers express the abundance of books in several sections. Assistant Bargain Room manager Frank McConnell reported to me " some sections (Art, psychology, religion, science, science fiction, music & dance, drama, especially reference (look for SAT books), and paperback romances. To say the least we have way more than can fit on the shelves." In response to the large number of books in the Bargain Room you'll find some section have been shelved in two areas. Please look for signs indicating where more books can be found for our overloaded sections.

With folks having finished their summer clean-out, our donations have been larger than ever. Look for lots of treasure in LP & VHS areas as well as full book shelves in all the Bargain Rooms! And, don't forget to check out the big selection of books in excellent condition in the Bargain Children's Room too!

FOPAL wants to extend a big WELCOME to its newest non-profit partner, children's bargain book room section managers Abilities United (led by FOPAL's finest Tyler Vinciguerra). Training sessions were finished at the end of August thanks to retiring volunteer Camille Sorrant and as a result FOPAL's Children's Bargain Room operations at the Cubberley Community Center have been turned over to the Abilities United (AU) Adult Day Program...Welcome AU Staff & participants! For more information on AU Adult Day Program/Activities go to

September Signed Book Special

FOPAL's Signed Book special is back! When researching a book for sale at FOPAL one point mentioned to new volunteer researchers is to "look in the book". What can be found in a donated book could be anything from a love note to pictures, to money or (almost as good as money) an inscription and authors signature. During a recent research of a book in the psychology sections, The Psychedelic Experience: a manual based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead was found to contain the inscription "to Arthur - with respect Timothy Leary". What a great find, and worth between 75 and 200 dollars.

From the website Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America's article entitled Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Is "Flat Signed" Better?: I discovered this tidbit to share... "Few if any collectors today care if Jules Verne or H. G. Wells inscribed a book to an unknown person. Just the opposite, a long inscription is preferred. Why is that true? Because of course these authors are now no longer signing anything, and it is easier to authenticate an inscribed and signed copy, so the more words from the master's hand, the better. Who knows, maybe in a hundred years, Ray Bradbury's signature may be worth something and a book with a long inscription and maybe one of his drawings - priceless?...My point in telling you all of this is simply to point out that the more words on your autographed items, the better!" -Barry R. Levin

Look for the September Signed Book special books in the third bay to your right as you enter the main room, labeled "Signed Book Special" -Janette Herceg

September Special - Morality & Ethics

"The September Sales Special focuses on topics of Ethics and Morality as seen from various perspectives, such as philosophy, politics, sociology, and science. Titles include Human Cloning, A Companion to Ethics, Forgiveness, Moral Clarity, Bioethics, Moral Sense and Revenge." -Nigel Jones

Philosophy for September

"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 three shelves. Titles of new arrivals include: Out of Chaos, Essays on Existentialism, Ecumenical Cruise, The Politics of Being, and The Heroes of the Greeks and a biography of Emerson by Allen." -Nigel Jones

FOPAL Gives Away Free Books After Each Monthly Sale!

Teachers and Non-Profits - on Sunday Afternoon After Sale

From 4-6 pm on Sunday, at the conclusion of each monthly book sale, any teacher or individual associated with a nonprofit organization - with proper ID - can select ANY AMOUNT OF BOOKS AND MEDIA FOR FREE from our Bargain Room (Cubberley H-2/H-3). See the "Non-Profit Book Giveaway" section elsewhere in this newsletter, and remember to bring your own boxes and bags.

Every month the Bargain Room offers many paperbacks and hardcovers in every possible genre, all sorted and shelved by subject area/genre, plus CDs, DVDs, LPs, and cassettes. We never sell everything by the end of the sale, so there will always be plenty to choose from. The Bargain Room also contains children's bargain books from preschool to early teens.

Free Giveaway for Everyone Else - on Monday Night After Sale

From 6-8 p.m. on Monday night after each monthly sale, everyone - you don't have to be nonprofit - may come and take away from the Bargain Room any amount of books and media. Be sure to bring enough bags and boxes.

And Freebies for our FOPAL Volunteers Too!

From 6 pm Sunday to 5:59 pm Monday, i.e. between the above two giveaway times, FOPAL volunteers may select books from the Bargain Room for free!


"This month we received an unusually large collection of literary biographies, especially of prominent American authors. This month, New Arrivals, on the top shelf features half a shelf devoted to Mark Twain, his work and his life, and the other half devoted to Ernest Hemingway, his work, his wives, his women, his bulls, his boats, his friends, his feasts, his wives, his women, you get the picture? Fascinating month will feature Fitzgerald and Steinbeck." -Ann Justice


"The History section is once again packed with an excess of interesting books. Please plan to spend lots of time in our aisle looking closely at our section as there are numerous books we have never had before as well as ones which we haven't seen for a long time. This month many of the books we usually have in our German area dealing with Hitler's rise to power are in Military History. Never fear--we still have a full shelf of German history.

"We are very eager to start watching the Ken Burns PBS series on the Roosevelts that starts Sunday night and hope that you are planning on seeing it. To mark the occasion we have assembled a special collection of books on the Roosevelts which you will find on your right just before reaching the cashiers. Our collection contains very reasonably priced books on Theodore (Teddy), Franklin (FDR) and Eleanor." -Suzanne Little and KC Sarr

Modern Literature

"This month in Modern Literature (Aisle 14-15) we feature books by Israeli authors (translated from Hebrew into English, of course). These are 20th-21st century, highly regarded authors, including Aharon Appelfeld, Amos Oz, and A. B. Yehoshua. These authors may not be familiar to us, but American colleges are beginning to offer course reading lists that include Israeli fiction. These Hebrew-Israeli narratives start by looking at the meaning of historical events and the actions that comprise cause and effect." -Scottie Zimmerman

General Fiction

"Two new shelves this month: Comic novels & Section Manager's favorites." -Marian Knox

Humor for September

"All new arrivals and signed books are on the top two shelves. September is still British Humor Month and continues with new arrivals including three books by Monty Python, five books by P. G. Wodehouse, a compilation from Frank Muir, a J. B. Priestley anthology, a Harry Secombe (of The Goon Show) memoir, The Complete Yes Minister, scripts from Gavin and Stacey, Willie Rushton, Peter Ustinov and Fawlty Towers. Also, look for several excellent New Yorker cartoon anthologies, a Thurber biography and the Encyclopedia of Stupidity." -Nigel Jones


"To all of our men friends out there - are you feeling a bit out of shape? Would you like to look and feel better in time to wow your friends during the holiday season? This month the Health section is offering over a dozen nearly new books geared specifically toward male fitness, many still sold at local bookshelves (but at amazing FOPAL prices). Titles: Banish Your Belly, The Complete Book of Abs, Peak Conditioning, The Testosterone Advantage... you get the picture! In addition, please check out our monthly selection of 'Red Dot' books -- these too are books still in local stores but at our usual low prices." -Karen D.

"September has brought us a great harvest of brand new books, in perfect condition, many published very recently. You'll find them scattered throughout the section." -Verne Rice

Music & Dance

"As usual we offer books on a wide variety of musical topics. This month look for: No Vivaldi in the Garage - A Requiem for Classical Music in North America; Mozart in the Jungle - Sex, Drugs and Classical Music; Leonard Bernstein: American Original; Chopin's Funeral; Legends, Icons and Rebels - Music that Changed the World; Rolling with the Stones; Opera, Sex and Other Vital Matters; Music, the Brain and Ecstasy; Got Bieber Fever; Blackbird Singing - poems by Paul McCartney; The Art of Practicing - a Guide to Making Music from the Heart.

"A very special book this month is Klimt: Beethoven - the Frieze for the Ninth Symphony. Also, come to browse our wide selection of sheet music." -Charlotte Epstein

Greeting Cards & Boxed Cards

"OUTSIDE the main room on the card cart are individual greeting cards, bookmarks, and packages of ROSH HASHANAH cards. INSIDE the main room, across from the cashiers and below postcards are packages of blank greeting cards." -Marda Buchholz

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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