Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

Saturday November 12
Ephemera 8am - 4pm
Bargain Room 9:30am - 4pm
Children's Room 10am - 4pm
Main Room Sale 11am - 4pm
Tent Sale 9am - 4pm

Sunday November 13
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Fall & Winter Holidays
Children's Room
Collectable Sets


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.

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 November and December
The Library will be closed on Friday, November 11 for the Veteran's Day holiday. Normal hours will resume on Saturday, November 12.

The Library will close at 6pm on Wednesday, November 23 for the Thanksgiving holiday, and remain closed Thursday and Friday, November 24-25. Normal hours will resume on Saturday, November 26.

The Library will be closed on Sunday, December 25 and Monday, December 26 for the Christmas holiday. Normal hours will resume on Tuesday, December 27.

You can find out about closings and other Palo Alto Library events on the Library's event calendar.
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:
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 916-936-4580. 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.

FOPAL Members Get the First Pick at Members Early Sale

A super big FUN FESTIVE FOPAL Members Early Sale is scheduled for Saturday, December 10th. 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. Members enjoy a less crowded main book room and get the first crack at FOPAL's wonderful collection of materials!

Saturday December 10th - At our Members Early Sale, Life and Sponsor Members (and one spouse or guest) may enter at 9am and can purchase up to 100 books per membership from 9am to 10am. Other Members enter at 10am and able to purchase 25 books at a time. General admission for all including non-Members begins at 11am. With the usual limit on purchasing 12 books at a time lasts until there is no longer a line waiting to enter. Remember, you may renew your membership, or join FOPAL, that day. Renew, or join now at!

FOPAL Book Sale Committee Reinforces 12-Book Limit

In November of 2014 FOPAL implemented the following rules to be followed during the period of the 12-book limit rule. These rules still stand and will continue to be enforced. We ask all shoppers to honor the following rules:

  1. EARLY IN THE SALE, each customer may select up to twelve (12) books, sets of books, or other items. They must be purchased and taken outside of the sale room. Customers may then return to the waiting line (if any) and re-enter the sale as often as they like. Note: The FOPAL Sale Manager will announce when this limit is lifted.
  2. Adult shoppers may bring in no more than ONE GROCERY-SIZED BAG or ONE GREEN FOPAL BAG.
  3. For safety's sake, NO boxes, large backpacks, carriages, or strollers will be allowed. Bags and other large items must not block access to shelves - they are a tripping hazard.
  4. Do not take books away from their sections to review them. If you remove a book to look at it, please replace it neatly on the shelf. Covering, hoarding, and/or stashing books are not allowed. Keep your books with you; abandoned books will be re-shelved.
  5. Avoid crowding, pushing, verbal disagreements, and aggressive interactions with other shoppers, staff, or volunteers.
  6. SCANNER/CELL PHONE USAGE- some customers have voiced their concerns about the use of scanners. Although some book sales do not permit their use, FOPAL permits them with the expectation that all customers will act in a manner that is respectful to other patrons, volunteers, and staff. If you are using a dedicated scanner, please be mindful of the area and other customers around you. If you are not using a scanner, please keep in mind that those who do are also customers.

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 in honoring these rules. We ask for the commitment of our "business clients" in considering the rights of all of our customers and observing our rules.

Many thanks to all of you -FOPAL Book Sale Committee

FOPAL Closings for November

In observance of Thanksgiving FOPAL will be closed for donations November 24th and 25th.

Children's Room

FOPAL's Children's Room volunteers are wishing everyone happy holidays! Look for a considerable selection of fall and winter holiday books being offered for the November and December sale. The Children's Room volunteers have been stashing away a bounty of books all year long and are excited to finally bring them to you! You'll find their special section featuring books on autumn, pilgrims, Thanksgiving and being thankful. Winter holidays will fill a table top with books for everyone celebrating the wonderful winter season. While the fall and winter holiday books section will continue to the December sale the selection will surely be at its best this weekend!

Holiday & Signed Books

We've been working hard to bring out all the seasonal Winter Holidays books and CDs we've been collecting these many months. You'll find a large selection for Hanukkah and Christmas. If you are looking for great ideas on how to liven up your holidays, look no further. You are sure to find something you'll be excited to read, listen to or share with loved ones during this upcoming holiday season. Look for the festive garland display as you enter the Main Room on the right. Also, because we have even more Hanukkah and Christmas stuff still packed away in storage, look for more of our collection to be put on sale in December. -Janette

"Look for the red cart full of Signed by Author books. A nice selection of mostly recent fiction titles autographed by bestselling authors, including some signed First Editions." -Jerry

Sets November 2016

"Our featured set for this month is, in excellent condition, the complete 54 volume set of Great Books of the Western World, 1952, $80. Typically, we get the first 3 volumes, known as the Syntopicon, but as they have a high value in the past we have only sold them through our online store. Besides that, usually we only get some volumes of the rest of the set. In this case we are offering the complete set to our Book Sale customers. Other excellent sets include, Delphian Texts, 1926, 8 volumes, $20, Historical Tales, Charles Morris, 1908, 15 volumes, $30, and a set everyone should have, The Diary of Samuel Pepys, 1904, 8 volumes, $25. For the pre-1900 collector we have several volumes of Dickens, 1868, for $5 each. Other sets will be found in their subject areas such as History in aisle 11 and Fiction in aisle 15 with even more Sets are in the Bargain Room.

Don't forget, a set, even if it's 54 volumes, only counts as 1 book, when you are buying within the 12 book limit." -Nigel Jones

Judaica for November

"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: A Rabbi Talks with Jesus by Jacob Neusner; Not by the Sword: How a Cantor and His Family Transformed a Klansman; Anger: The Inner Teacher; Journey into our heritage: The story of the Jewish People in the Canadian West; The Miracle in Denmark - The Rescue of the Jews 1943-45; Convoy To Auschwitz: Women of the French Resistance; Palestine Betrayed; Memory, the Holocaust, and French Justice; The Art of Being Jewish in Modern Times.

Check the appropriate fiction section if you are interested in literature with a Jewish or Israeli theme though I do display a few Folklore books." -Charlotte Epstein

Historical Fiction

"For those of you who like World War II espionage historical thrillers don't miss our Alan Furst special in Historical Fiction. This month we have a complete selection of Furst's books including his latest, A Hero of France. I also recommend the "Station" series of WWII spy thrillers by David Downing which should be read in order of publication. This month we have three "Station" books. We also have Patrick O'Brian's Navy: The illustrated Companion to Jack Aubrey's World, as well as A Sea of Words, and Harbors and High Seas all designed to add to your understanding and enjoyment of O'Brian's novels. In addition to our usual comprehensive selection of O'Brian's books we have more of his hardback books than usual. Finally, we have a complete set of The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett along with a copy of The Dorthy Dunnett Companion. These are only a few of the very diverse selection of historical fiction books this month." -Suzanne Little

November Music

"Visit the Music section for books on a wide variety of musical topics in the genres of classical, rock, jazz, world music, and dance. New this month - Measure for Measure: A Musical History of Science; Music 109: Notes on Experimental Music; Creating Country Music: Fabricating Authenticity; Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll; We Want Miles: Miles Davis vs. Jazz; Jammin' at the Margins: Jazz and the American Cinema; Crying Out Loud: Life in a Sixties Rock Band.

There are a few books on Bob Dylan who won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature including The Dylan Companion. Also browse our wide selection of sheet music neatly sorted by instruments including violin, piano, trumpet and guitar." -Charlotte Epstein

Philosophy for November 2016

"The Philosophy section received so many books in November that there are new arrivals on all shelves. Titles include, The Truth About Everything, Minds and Bodies, The Courtier and the Heretic, The Third City, The Road Since Structure, and The Philosophy Book - Big Ideas Simply Explained. Unusually for Philosophy we even have signed books: Total Freedom by Sciabarra and The Meaning of Life by Wolf. This month we also have the classic box set, in excellent condition, The Encyclopedia of Philosophy in 8 volumes.

Don't forget the Bargain Room: there was not enough shelf space in the Main Room for all the books received and there are some excellent books to be found there as well." -Nigel Jones

Health for November

"It's about time to remind one and all that now is the time to be on the lookout for health-related books as thoughtful, empathic and caring holiday gifts. We have an unusually large collection of current and recent Best Sellers: When Breath Becomes Air, Kolanithi; Emperor of All Maladies, Mukhergee; Being Mortal and many others (older, but still very readable, important and timeless) by Atul Gawande; and sacks of classic books by Oliver Sacks (please forgive the pun). We call your attention to many more attractive, informative, inspiring and entertaining books, archaic to state-of-the-art, on our New and Interesting Shelf. The book addicts who run this section recommend them highly. And to add to our Time-Oriented focus for November, we\u2019re having a special sale of books about Miraculous Cures: see Shed 10 Years in 10 Months; Lose Weight, Have More Energy, and Be Happier in 10 Days; The 3-HOUR DIET; 21 Pounds in 21 Days; and many more. Good News: How quick and easy it is to be healed!" -Verne Rice


"The Interpreter's Bible- 12-volume set in good condition from 1957 all for $25. And Flaubert's The Temptation of St Anthony, with lovely illustrations by Mahon Blaine for $7." -Nancy Mahoney Cohen

2016 November Humor

"The Humor section is ready to help you with all your holiday gift giving. For gifts that look a lot more expensive than they really are we have three different versions of The Complete New Yorker Cartoons. For something special how about signed copies of books from Josh Kornbluth, Carmen Rutlen, Barsotti or Paula Poundstone? Anglophiles?- Wodehouse (5), Monty Python (two), the list goes on. Hollywood?- Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy or Hirschfield. For the refined taste- four books from Charles Addams. And all the old favorites, Fey, Sedaris, MAD Magazine and Spy and about 100 other books to choose from.

Also make sure to check out the Bargain Room for Humor and look through the large collection of books and cartoons." -Nigel Jones

FOPAL Customers

During the month before each sale section managers highlight donations of special interest. We cannot guarantee all highlighted books will be on the shelves at the sale.

Teen reviews by Tristan Wang

Clockwork by Philip Pullman

Time is running out too fast for too many. For Karl, an apprentice clockmaker who cannot miss a crucial deadline. For Fritz, a writer, who had begun a story spiraling out of his control? And for Gretl, the innkeeper's daughter, who must muster the courage to match her kindness. The characters, not unlike cogs in a machine, come together in a magical yet terrifying tale as suspenseful as a ticking clock.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

By sixth grade, best friends Miranda and Sal have learned to navigate the restless, labyrinthine New York neighborhood. But then, for obscure reasons, Sal shuts Miranda out of his life. Shortly after, enigmatic notes begin to find their way into Miranda's hands. Each more urgent than the one before, Miranda is led to believe that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think it may be too late.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

A genuine novel with "its own rationale...and its own character." Set in the closing months of the Second World War, the tale details the frustrated observations of Yossarian, an American bomber furious because men he hasn't even met keep trying to kill him. Interpreted as a microcosm of the convoluted 20th century world, Catch-22 uses classic satire to reveal the hilarious yet horrific dangers of being sane in a world plagued by twisted paradox.

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