Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

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

Sunday December 13
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Children's Room
Military History
Music & Dance
Winter Holidays
Wyman Collection


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, CDs, DVDs, &c

Marty's (Main) Room
In our Main Room, prices are way below what used book stores charge. Hardcover books start at $2.00 and softcover books start at only $1.00.


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 December and January
All Library branches will be opening late at 12:00 PM (noon) on Wednesday December 16.

All Library branches will be closing at 6:00 PM on Thursday December 24 for the Christmas holiday, and will remain closed through Friday December 25. Regular hours resume on Saturday December 26.

All Library branches will be closing at 6:00 PM on Thursday December 31 for New Year's Eve, and will remain closed through Friday January 01, 2016. Regular hours resume on Saturday January 02.

You can find out about closings and other Palo Alto Library events on the Library's event calendar.
True in 2004 and still true in 2015
"It's truly surprising how many valuable books are donated to FOPAL" -Marty Paddock, 2004.

This is still true in 2015! 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 Store located in the Mitchell Park Library, or the Friends Gondola located in the Downtown and Rinconada libraries during library hours. Books are priced $2 for hardbacks and $1 for paperbacks. The Friends Store and Gondola are restocked regularly with books for all interests. Or, shop our on-line book store at All proceeds from book sales benefit the Palo Alto Libraries.
Friends Bookstores in Mitchell Park, Downtown, and Rinconada

If you cannot attend the book sale, please drop by the Friends Bookstore located inside the Mitchell Park Library, Downtown Library, and Rinconada Library, and open during library hours. They are restocked regularly with a unique selection of books for all ages and interests.

Look for FOPAL high-value books on at competitive prices
Book Sales on line at:
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.


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.

December 2015 Sale Notes

December is a time for giving and we at FOPAL are giving our members another Members-Early Sale. All FOPAL paid members can get in earlier than the normal 11am start time. Because of this the normal Main Room entry procedure is changed. See the section below pertaining to the Members-Early Sale.

Christmas is nearly here and we've got plenty of Christmas books, music and more. Look for the Winter Holidays display just a few steps from the entry door on the right wall.... Our Military History section manager is featuring "All Things Civil War" this month.... The Music section has been restocked with wide variety of musical topics including the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, as well as wide selection of sheet music neatly sorted by instruments.... The Drama section has had a strong month of new donations, coming to us by way of the Palo Alto Community Theater.... The Children's Room has another great batch of nice Christmas books, kids' cook books, toys, puzzles and games... Our High-Value sales manager Jerry Stone is also featuring the Wyman Collection, located in the special bay across from the Main Room check-out line.

FOPAL Members Get First Pick at Members-Early Sale

A fun and festive FOPAL Members-Early Sale is scheduled for Saturday December 12th. Twice a year, FOPAL holds a Members-Early Sale, at which members of the Friends of the Palo Alto Library are admitted early to the Main Room sale.

Life Members Enter at 9am

At our Members-Early Sale, Life Members (and one spouse or guest) may enter at 9am and can purchase up to 50 books per membership only during that first hour. Each Life Member must give the one Purchase Slip per membership to the cashier before 10am in order to purchase up to 50 books. If a Life Member exits without purchasing all 50 books, he/she may take the Purchase Slip and reenter to fill out the 50 books as long as they are purchased by 10am.

Other Members Enter at 10am

Members at all other levels can enter the sale at 10am, and purchase the usual 12 books at a time. At 11am, non-members are admitted. The limit on purchasing 12 books at a time lasts until there is no longer a line waiting to enter. New memberships can be purchased and expired memberships can be renewed beginning at 8am.

Enjoy a less crowded main book room and get first crack at our wonderful collection of materials. Books are always a welcome holiday treat! 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:

  • Guatemala Cuilco - Finca El Regalito
    Medium intensity/Deep sweetness, fresh and dried fruits, bittersweet chocolate, elegant acidity.
  • Yemen Dhamari Anis
    Savory, aromatic wood notes, rustic cocoa nibs, fruited accents, quishr tea, muskmelon, and dry pineapple.
  • Sulawesi Bone-Bone Village
    Medium-Bold intensity/Rustic sweet, fruit and foresty flavors and aromas, thick body.
  • Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe Baraka Buna
    Medium-Bold intensity / Intense aromatics, floral, fruited, bright, sweet
  • Colombia Timana SWP Decaf
    Refined sweetness, white sugar, cane juice, spiced cider, sweet cocoa hints, rye/barley background notes, clean finish.

Ticket Handout Procedure

Tickets for early arrivers are handled differently at the Members-Early sale. As is usual, tickets are given out beginning at 8am. Tickets given out are for the 9am and 10am lines at the Main Room, since most people who come early are Members of FOPAL. Each Member will get just one ticket, although Life Members may bring one guest between 9 and 10am and Family Members may bring in their families, consisting of one other adult and minor children, beginning at 10am. No tickets will be given out for the 11am line.

Join FOPAL Now!

If you're not already a paid-up member, avoid delay at the sale by joining online now.

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 Wyman Collection

"This month's book sale will feature a number of volumes donated by the estate of Tom and Ellen Wyman. Tom and Ellen, who sadly passed away last year, were actively involved with the FOPAL book sale for many years, and are well-remembered by many volunteers and book sale customers. Together, Tom and Ellen managed the sale at the old Terman site in the late 90s. Under their leadership and direction, the monthly book sale grew and expanded from a single room to fill seven schoolrooms at the old Terman School. Before the Wymans took over, the sale was a sparsely attended and little-know adjunct to FOPAL's activities. The Wymans set the standard for what the FOPAL book sale is today: a first-class operation that connects bibliophiles, bibliomaniacs, and everyday readers to a monthly offering of great books and reading material at bargain prices.

The Wymans were active in the Palo Alto community. Tom served as president of the Palo Alto Historical Association and was one of the original members of the Library Advisory Committee. Both of the Wymans were members of FOPAL's Board, and Ellen served as President from 2000 to 2002.

Tom and Ellen were also book lovers and discriminating collectors. Their interests included books on science and technology, textiles, local history, as well as arts and crafts. Customers at the December sale will find many interesting titles on offer from the Wymans' estate." -John Burt

December Biography/Memoir

"For those of you Raj-o-philes suffering withdrawal symptoms from that gripping PBS drama Indian Summers, now is the time to catch up on some background reading about British social and family life in India during the Raj. This month we have three books on the subject: The Fishing Fleet: Husband-Hunting in the Raj, Women of the Raj, and The Golden Oriole: A 200-Year Old History of an English Family in India. In addition, don't miss The Sun in the Morning and Two Under the Indian Sun, memoirs of M.M. Kaye (author of that 80s blockbuster The Far Pavilions) and Rumer Godden (many well-known novels). Both women spent idyllic, magical childhoods in pre-WWI India that they recalled with great pleasure and in fascinating detail. After they endured dreary boarding schools at "home" in England, both managed to return to India as young adults; each of them wrote two more volumes of memoirs. Currently we have the second volume by Godden: A Time to Dance, A Time to Weep." -Ann Justice

December Gardening

"In apparent contradiction to the prevailing water-wise, drought-tolerant landscaping ethos (and we have a large section of books on the subject), may I also recommend the numerous volumes we have this month on WATER GARDENING, aka WATERSCAPING! As these attractive, well-photographed books amply demonstrate, you don't have to create a pond, pool, or lake to experience the delights of water in your garden, patio, or on your balcony. Consider instead a POND-IN-A-POT, i.e. use a large ceramic planter (with plug!) or half a wine barrel, install a small circulating fountain, and add some water-loving flora and fauna. The books give you easy to follow instructions and many inspirational examples." -Ann Justice


"For many people, myself included, one of the pleasures of the holiday season is a time for spiritual reflection. Self-Help has two shelves of inspirational books. Browse through them and see what you might want for yourself or to give to another. Some titles are: The Gift, Helmstetter; Living Deeply, Schlitz; Miracles of Mind, Targ; Small Miracles, Halbaerstam. Among other books of current interest are: The Happiness Myth, Becht; The End of Stress, McEwen; From Aging to Sage-ing, Schachter; 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology, Blackwell; Focused and Fearless, Catherine; and The Emotion Code, Nelson. Peace and Joy to All" -Marnie Shuey

Health for December

"Get your HEALTHY GIFT Ideas here! We have a few seasonal subsections for December. Lots of new arrivals (and a bunch of oldies too) will be great for gifts: in excellent shape, recent best-sellers, just plain fascinating and/or fun and of timely interest to important people on your shopping list. You'll find these sections especially marked, but check out all of our regular shelves for more books, some of which have been lovingly used but we recognize their readability and popularity. Lots of oldies but goodies, prices marked way down as neat stocking stuffers.

We know from experience that medical memoirs (not primarily about illnesses but about being medical students, ER attending and nurses, GP's -- of course now we call them primary care givers -- brain surgeons, paramedics and patients). They're all easy reading: exciting, personal, human, empathic, and popular with followers of every TV medic and hospital from Dr. Kildare, to Chicago Hope to ER to Frasier to House to Grey's Anatomy to Nurse Jackie. Added bonus: Hidden in these stories there's a lot of good information about Health and Medicine." -Verne Rice

Nature Section

"Are you looking for an inexpensive, nicely wrapped Christmas/Hanukkah/Hostess gift? Come by the Nature section holiday book display to check out our "like new" selection of heartwarming animal-themed books by James Herriot, Cleveland Amory, Ellis Weiner and Guideposts Books. These are classic stories to be treasured and reread through the years. Along with our usual 1,000 books to choose from, we also have a display of first editions by John McPhee and other Nature writers along the top shelf, reasonably priced as always. Thank you for your support of Friends of the Palo Alto Library in 2015, and we wish you a Happy Holiday season!" -Karen D.

Philosophy for December 2015

"New arrivals in Philosophy are to be found both on the top shelves of the right hand bookcase and within the subject area of specific philosophers in the left hand bookcase. This month's new arrivals include Lewis Carroll's Symbolic Logic, Walter Lippmann's Collected Letters and two fine books by Hume, Collected Essays and The Treatise. Other new titles include Has Semantics Rested on a Mistake, Labyrinths of Reason, The 21st Century Ethical Toolbox, Moral Clarity, First Things, Downcast Eyes, and The Spinoza Quartet (a novel). Holding over from November we still have a very good selection of books by Santayana.

Don't forget the Bargain Room where even more Philosophy books are to be found."-Nigel Jones

Humor December 2015

"It's December and everyone is in gift buying mode. The Humor section provides several excellent options, such as books that look brand new but aren't thus providing a great gift on the cheap, and books that are unusual and could give the impression of hours of creative gift searching. Whichever way you go we have plenty of great gift possibilities to choose from. This month we have received a lot of British humor. New arrivals include Private Eye, P. G. Wodehouse, Yes Minister, Monty Python, a Frank Muir anthology, Three Men in a Boat, the ever-brilliant Wallace and Gromit and the very strange Secret Life of Queen Victoria. In the funny and female department we have new arrivals from Ellen DeGeneres, Wanda Sykes, Tina Fey, Fran Lebowitz, Fran Rescher, Sandra Shamas, and as an especially good gift as it has a great cover, Allie Brosh's Hyperbole and a Half.

Make sure to check out the Bargain Room for more humor and to take a look through the large collections of cartoons." -Nigel Jones

2015 December Music

"Visit the Music section for books on a wide variety of musical topics such as classical, rock, jazz, world music, and dance. New this month: The Rolling Stones: Black and White Blues, 1963; Mandolins, like Salami; The Beatles: The True Beginnings; Music of the Common Tongue; Buffy Sainte-Marie: It's My Way; Songs of the Wild West; Martha Graham: Sixteen Dances in Photographs; Beethoven: The Man Revealed; All You Need is Love: the Story of Popular Music; The Mastery of Music: Ten Pathways to True Artistry. Also browse our wide selection of sheet music neatly sorted by instruments including violin, piano, trumpet and guitar." -Charlotte Epstein

2015 December Judaica

"Browse the Judaica section for books on the Jewish religion, Jewish history, the Holocaust, Israel, Jewish Women, the Jewish American Experience and other related subjects.

New this month - Operation Paperclip; IBM and the Holocaust; A Hole in the Heart of the World: Being Jewish in Eastern Europe; Auschwitz: a New History; A Durable Peace by Benjamin Netanyahu; The Book of Blessings; Klezmer!: Jewish Music from Old World to Our World; Voyage of the Damned; Cracking of the Bible Code; History of Matzah: The Story of the Jews.

Check the appropriate fiction section if you are interested in Jewish themed or Israeli literature." -Charlotte Epstein

Classics and Modern Literature

"The Classics and Modern Literature section has about a dozen lovely, boxed Heritage editions (and some other large-format illustrated editions) of various works of literature. These have all been reduced for the upcoming sale to $2 each. They make wonderful holiday gifts." -Jenny M.

END OF YEAR SALE - Greeting Cards

"All individual cards (outside the main room on the card cart) - holiday, birthday, get well, etc. will be 5 for 25 cents. This month only! Stock up now." -Marda Buchholz

Teen Recommendations by Tristan Wang

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

In a futuristic society, physical appearance can be altered in its entirety. And for teenagers, one's sixteenth birthday is the most pivotal and anticipated day in one's life. That day is Operation Day: one that transforms you from a repellent Ugly into a gorgeous Pretty. To seal the deal, Pretties are relocated to New Pretty Town, a high-tech paradise of endless merriment. Tally Youngblood will be there in a couple of weeks, and she can hardly wait to turn sixteen. But Tally's rebellious friend Shay is skeptical about turning pretty. She even speaks of running off. And she does, the very day before her birthday.

Befuddled by her friend's unreasonable decision, Tally soon finds herself in the custody of Special Circumstances. This isn't the first runaway they've had to deal with. The authorities give Tally the ultimatum: bring Shay in, or never turn pretty. Caught in the middle of a manhunt, Tally begins to unravel the secrets behind the facade of her Pretty society--and it isn't so pretty after all.

Found, by Margaret Peterson

Jonah Skidmore had always believed himself an average kid. He has two loving parents; an annoying younger sister named Katherine, and leads a mundane life in a quiet Ohio suburb. Sure, Jonah knew he was adopted. But frankly, he doesn't think much of it. That is, until suspicious letters begin to show up in his mail. "You are one of the missing," they read. No signature, no address. Then Jonah's friend Chip begins getting identical letters, and he's not adopted. Or is he? Amidst the confusion, the friends begin to investigate their own pasts--and find themselves caught in a conspiracy that extends from past to future. One that will send them hurtling through time to a place they do not belong--or, perhaps, the place from which they were taken.

The Name of That Star, by Maureen Johnson

The day Rory's parents decide to move their Louisiana family to London is truly a remarkable occasion. For Rory, the day marks a fresh start at a prestigious boarding school, but for many, it will be regarded as a day of widespread terror. It marks the first of a series of grisly murders--ones premeditated and engineered flawlessly to resemble those of Jack the Ripper in the fall of 1888.

"Ripper-mania" continues to sweep modern-day London, and the criminal remains one step ahead of the law. The police have no suspects and no witnesses, except one. By chance or fate, Rory caught a glimpse of a mysterious figure emerging just before a murder. And here's the catch: Rory's friend was there as well, and she didn't notice anything. Why then, can only Rory see the man? Or what, should we ask, does the killer have in store for her?

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.

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