Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

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

Sunday September 13
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Historical Fiction
Palo Alto/Bay Area
Puzzles & Games
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 $2.00 and softcover books start at only $1.00.

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 September and October
All Library branches will be closed on Monday October 12 for the Columbus Day holiday. Regular hours resume on Tuesday October 13.

You can find out about closings and other Palo Alto Library events on the Library's event calendar.
To the very generous people who donate books - and more - And to people who are thinking of doing so:

YOU ARE THE LIFELINE OF FOPAL and you have our unending thanks: we wouldn't exist without you! But we have a big favor to ask:
  • If possible, please hold large donations until after our Saturday and Sunday Sale Days.
  • Books brought in a day or two before the sale may not make it onto the shelves that month. (If you wish to see them on display, plan accordingly)
  • We're crowded. Please limit your Sale Day donations to a bag or two of books.
Right before and during the sale, our Sorting Room (where books arrive) is filled as high as it's safe to stack them. We don't have room to sort - let alone store new donations. We make these requests in the interest of efficiency and the safety of our loyal volunteers. We are anxious never to turn away donations and will work to accommodate your travel and schedules.

Regular donation times are Monday through Saturday, 2 to 4 pm. If these hours won't work for you, volunteers are often available at other times to welcome you; please call us at 650-213-8755 to be sure someone will be there.

We can also schedule local pick-ups if you are unable to bring your donation to the Main Book Room (Marty's Room). Call 650-308-4933 and leave a message for our pick-up team.

Your treasures are our treasures AND ALL BENEFIT THE PALO ALTO LIBRARY. AGAIN, OUR WARMEST THANKS TO YOU! -FOPAL Book Sale Committee
Friends Bookstores in Mitchell Park and Downtown

If you cannot attend the book sale, please drop by the Friends Bookstore located inside the Mitchell Park Library and Downtown 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.

September Sale Notes

The end of summer is normally a strong month for us in terms of donation volume and this year is no exception.... Thanks to a huge donation of books on the West, look for full shelves again in the main room and Bargain Room as well as a special on Palo Alto/Bay Area. There is material on all facets of the history, growth and culture of the local community. Our Historical Fiction manager reports a nice selection of books by Patrick O'Brien this month.... The Puzzles & Games section has a higher than normal volume of offerings, look for full shelves in both the Main and Bargain Rooms.... The Nature section manager has done a terrific write up for you this month, sighting many examples of what's special in this section for September. The Children's Room has also been blessed with a large volume of donations and will have dozens of rare and collectable books offered for September, reasonably priced by the children's vintage book researcher Tyler Vinciguerra. Look for our teen writer/contributor recommending books available in the Children's Room for the September sale! Tristan Wang book review column is a terrific one entitled, "Teen Recommendations by Tristan Wang", below.

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 Room

Our Children's Room manager reports "our shelves are again bursting everywhere, including lots of books for kids learning to read fluently. We also have a complete set of Hardy Boys, 58 books in all!" This month look for loads of: CDs, DVDs, math workbooks, games, beginning readers, graphic novels, poetry, and chapter books. -Pat Worthington

Historical Fiction

"Historical Fiction has had a tidal wave of Patrick O'Brian books. Find his popular historical sea adventure books on a special display case near the CDs in the main aisle. These books are priced lower than they have ever been at our sale so now's the time to buy the entire series or any volumes you are missing. We also have more sets than usual this month including a vintage set of the Hornblower Saga by C.S. Forester, The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett, Lords of Two Lands by Pauline Gedge, and Ken Follett's The Century Trilogy. Don't miss our very diverse selection of new Historical Fiction books this month. Books are categorized to help you find your favorite historical period, country or person. Learn history the easy way!" -Suzanne Little

The West

"We received a very large donation of books on Native Americans this month and have six shelves full of books covering all aspects of Native American culture and history. There also is a separate large set of books on Custer's Last Stand. The rest of The West is full and includes a large number of books about the Gold Rush, Women in the West, California; and vintage books. This month we have a special section in the tall bookcase by the book room entry with books on Palo Alto (including many from the Palo Alto Historical Society) and books on the San Francisco Bay Area from Berkeley to Monterey" -Dick Grote


"There is a lot going on in the Nature section this month! In our Extreme Adventure section we are honoring women adventurers everywhere with a great selection of books including: Women of Discovery, filled with pictures and stories of past and present world explorers (many in the floor-length wool skirts of the day), Annapurna: A Woman's Place, and Wild. Check out our 'naughty pets' display: Guide to Troubled Birds, Bad Cat and Dirty Bow Wow. The Nature section is made up of dozens of categories including New Arrivals, local Hiking and Nature Guides, Birds, Pets, Ecology, Astronomy, Natural Disasters, etc., and a shelf full of well-loved Animal Stories." -Karen D.

John McPhee Books

"John McPhee, for 50 years a highly praised author and contributor to The New Yorker, has written 33 books, and dozens of subjects, and half of which we have on today's Special Shelf. (You've probably seen many of them in our regular FOPAL sections.)

"His books are timeless: even those which date back to the 60's still rank as Amazon best sellers. Titles range from Control of Nature to Encounters with the Druids. Books about food include The Founding Fish (about shad, an east coast fish which George Washington enjoyed, treasured by gourmets and firmly established in American history. A lovely small book is called, simply, Oranges. Another is about farmers' markets. He has also written about the U.S. Merchant Marines: Looking for a Ship, the Alaskan wilderness: Coming into the Country, and freight transportation: Uncommon Carriers. McPhee's work is a literary style of journalism, lively and personal. You'll be amazed at how engrossed you can be by subjects you never dreamed would interest you." -Verne Rice


"Over half the books are new this month. Some Popular titles are: The Mindful Brain, Siegel; Real Happiness, Salzberg; The How of Happiness, Lyubomirsky; Redirect, Willson; Non-Violent Communication, Rosenberg; Outliers, Gladwell. A new section, Workbooks, has tools for Self-Discovery & Improvement like: Writing from the Inside Out; The Self-Esteem Workbook; Creative Healing; The End to Panic, and several by Barbara Sher like Discover Your Dream.

"Signed by Author Section has: Sex, Love & DNA and others. Look for fun books by Sark: Prosperity Pie, Transformation Soup and the Bodacious Book of Succulence.

"As usual, most books are in the $1 to $3 range and all below Amazon prices. So enjoy browsing". -Marnie Shuey

Humor September

"New arrivals in September include several large format books from the Monty Python crew including Autobiography, All the Words, volumes 1 and 2, and The Meaning of Life. Other new arrivals in the Humor section include books by Ellen DeGeneres, Tina Fey, Chris Rock, Denis Leary, David Sedaris, and Groening's box set, Box Full of Hell as well as Spy - The Funny Years, Life magazine's Laughs Last and a hardback collection of the number one British satirical magazine, Private Eye. Also we have two very interesting books, seen for the first time is Mel Watkins's On the Real Side, a detailed history of African American humor and a real oddity, Ronald Searle's Zoodiac. Make sure to check out the Bargain Room and look through the large collections of cartoons" -Nigel Jones


"We have received a large collection from a film scholar and consequently have a record number of books on film criticism and analysis and on the history of film and Hollywood. There also are a large number of books on African American Film and Entertainment. The regular sections (foreign film, media, TV, oversized books, film tie-ins, radio, and guides) are all packed. Finally, there are a large number of film biographies ranging from Mary Pickford to Ellen DeGeneres. Several boxes of the film biographies will be sold outside in the $1 tent." -Dick Grote

Health Section

"Our Health shelves are filled to near-bursting with a great blend of new and gift-worthy books and a fine, piquant and generous selection of older books: educational, fascinating, motivating, and often really fun. Which also describes this month's Special: REMEMBERING and HONORING OLIVER SACKS. Sacks wrote 14 books, most of them about neurological disorders, all of them highly praised, medically impeccable best-sellers. Readable and understandable to the general public, his words have entranced lay readers, comforted scared patients, supported caretakers, always with an aura of caring, respect for detail, and exquisite sensitivity to the feelings of the patients whose stories are the backbone of his books. He has been called "a poet laureate of contemporary medicine." Several books have been made into movies, most notably Awakenings, starring Robin Williams. (We have several copies.) Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain was the basis of PBS Nova's Musical Minds. From Migraine ("If migraine patients have a common and legitimate second complaint besides their migraines, it is that they have not been listened to by physicians. Looked at, investigated, drugged, charged, but not listened to.") to The Man who Mistook his Wife For a Hat, Oliver Sacks has left us remarkable gifts of his empathy and our knowledge, enjoyment and enrichment." -Verne Rice

September Music

"As usual we offer books on a wide variety of musical topics including classical, rock, jazz, world music, and dance. New this month: The Making of a Dance - Baryshnikov and Fracci in Medea; Balanchine 100; Clara Schumann - The Artist and The Woman; Bill Graham Presents; The Cure - A visual documentary; The Beatles A Celebration; Fandemonium (Red Hot Chili Peppers); No Direction Home; The Sex Revolts - Gender, Rebellion, and Rock'N;Roll; Where's the Melody. Also come and browse our wide selection of sheet music neatly sorted by instruments including violin, piano, trumpet and guitar." -Charlotte Epstein


"Browse the Judaica section for books on the Jewish religion, literature, Jewish history, the Holocaust, Israel and other related subjects. New this month - Mendel's Daughter: A Memoir; Jews and Medicine: Religion, Culture, Science; Sacred Therapy: Jewish Spiritual Teachings on Emotional Healing and Inner Wellness; Jazz Age Jews; The Trotskys, Freuds, and Woody Allens; Lilith's Cave: Jewish Tales of the Supernatural; Jewish Budapest; Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk about Being Jewish; The Joys of Yinglish; Refuge in Hell: How Berlin's Jewish Hospital Outlasted the Nazis; The Gold Train; Art from the Ashes: A Holocaust Anthology; GI Jews: How WW II Changed a Generation" -Charlotte Epstein

Philosophy for September 2015

"New arrivals in Philosophy are to be found both on the top shelves of the right hand bookcase and in the subject area of specific philosophers. New arrivals include: Emerson, Collected Writings, and Essays and Journals, Rousseau's Emile, Wilson's Consilience, Browning's Act & Agent, Appiah's My Father's House, and Porter's Flesh in the Age of Reason. New titles include: Strategies of Argument, Living Philosophers, and the three-volume set Philosophy in the Twentieth Century, and Jowett's box set, Plato.

"For the first time we have a wide variety of books on philosophy as it relates to perception, mind and consciousness. These are together on the fourth shelf of the right hand bookcase. Another book worthy of note is a signed copy of Marti-Ibanez, Tales of Philosophy. And, don't forget the Bargain Room where even more Philosophy books are to be found." -Nigel Jones

Teen Recommendations by Tristan Wang

Holes by Louis Sachar

Stanley Yelnats has the worst of luck. He is always in the wrong place at the wrong time. Thanks to a curse that began with his "no-good- dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great-great grandfather", Stanley is sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention camp, for a crime he did not commit. Camp Green Lake is the most depressing place on the planet. The lake has dried up decades ago. There are no trees, shade, or water. And it is infested with poisonous yellow-spotted lizards. Here the boys "build character" by spending all day digging holes in the parched dirt. But there is more than character development going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging because the abhorrent warden is looking for something. And soon Stanley, along with his newfound friend, Zero, begin their own search -- for the truth.

An Abundance of Katharines by John Green

Our main man Colin Singleton, anagram-loving child prodigy, has a distressing dilemma. He has dated -- and been dumped -- by 19 girls. And they are all named Katherine. After being dumped yet again by Katherine-19, Colin does what any depressed heartbroken teenage boy would do: he embarks on a road trip to nowhere with his "overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend", Hassan. An all-out bookworm, Colin is still waiting for his eureka moment -- the day he makes a mind-blowing accomplishment that would benefit all mankind. On the run from all his troubles, Colin's recent break-up just might prove to be the inspiration he was waiting for. He hastily drafts the "Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability", which he hopes will predict the outcome of every relationship and avenge all hopeless Dumpees like himself. Will he succeed?

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

When Jacob Portman was young, his idol was his Grandpa Abe. Jacob was once fascinated by Grandpa Abe's amazing stories and peculiar photographs -- those of invisible boys, impossibly strong children, and people with mouths on the backs of their heads.

Jacob is now a teenager, and has long dismissed his grandfather's childhood stories as fairy tales. As he returns home one ordinary day, Jacob is horrified to find his grandfather murdered in the backyard; he is overwhelmed by the shock and sinks into depression.

Following the suggestion of his psychologist, Jacob finds himself on a remote island off the coast of Wales, before the ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, his grandfather's orphanage home. Exploring the abandoned corridors and rooms, Jacob soon discovers that Miss Peregrine's children were more than peculiar -- they may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined. And, shockingly, they may still be alive.

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