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

Sunday February 12
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Military History
Chinese New Year
Historical Fiction


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 February
The Library will be closed on Monday, February 20 for the President's Day holiday. Normal hours will resume on Tuesday, February 21.

You can find out about closings and other Palo Alto Library events on the Library's event calendar.
A Reminder about the 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

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.

Each organization that selects books needs to provide their address and email address, cell phone number, the name of one person who will represent them at the giveaway and their address and telephone or email address. That way we will be able to contact you if we change hours, days of operation or limit numbers of volunteers from each organization selecting books. Please include this information in your request to Norma Burchard.

Each organization is allowed one person to select books in the children's bargain room and two people to select in the main bargain room. Each children's bargain room person may fill two paper supermarket bags for the first 45 minutes. In the main bargain room, the books must be selected individually for the first hour and if the large Ikea bags are used, they need to be taken outside as they are filled. If boxes are used, they need to be of a size that does not require the use of a hand truck to remove them. You may have further questions so feel free to call or email me. See you at the sale! -Norma Burchard


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.

What's Special for February

January was a banner month for donations. All three of our rooms are filled to capacity. Among the highlights: we received two generous donations from longtime Palo Alto Children's Theatre director Pat Briggs with her massive library of books every conceivable category and from Bliss Carnochan, Stanford Richard W. Lyman Professor of Humanities, Emeritus, and director of the Stanford Humanities Center. Carnochan's research and writing has focused on 18th-century literature in its cultural and historical settings. This is reflected in his recent donation.

Poetry in the Main Room and Bargain Room is brimming with new titles as we received a retiring Poetry professor's (No name to mention) library last month. History is offering a special for February that can be found in the "special bay" located across from the head of the check-out line, around the corner from DVDs. Military History's special this month is on Waterloo. "The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815, near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. A French army under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by two of the armies of the Seventh Coalition: an Anglo-led Allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington, and a Prussian army under the command of Gebhard Leberecht von Bluecher, Prince of Wahlstatt." (From Look for the Waterloo books in the first special bay as you enter the Main Room, right outside the sorting room. One fun special this month is dedicated to the Chinese New Year, the year of the phoenix/rooster and will include books pulled from a variety from sections. Ephemera made our specials list again this month as this section is again full with posters, framed art, decorative items, candles and more! Reminder FOPAL's Ephemera sale is now on Saturdays 8am-3:30pm.

History February Special

"Abraham Lincoln - A Country Divided" is the theme of our History special this month. (No, we're not doing a current events special.) We are featuring ABRAHAM LINCOLN who many believe is our greatest President and who governed in a time of the utmost division for our Republic. Not only is February Lincoln's birthday but our special is augmented by a large donation from former Stanford professor, Don Fehrenbacher. He was the recipient of the 1997 Lincoln Prize, the nation's highest annual award for Civil War studies. One of his Stanford colleagues stated, "Don Fehrenbacher was one of the two or three top Lincoln scholars in the United States, as his recent Lincoln Prize made clear." He also won the 1979 Pulitzer Prize in history for The Dred Scott Case: Its Significance in American Law and Politics. We have a copy of this book in our U.S. History section. The special has many other wonderful books about Lincoln and his legacy that we have not had before as well as books that are frequently on our shelves. You will find this special in the bookcase by the check-out line at the front of the room between DVDs and CDs. We also have an excellent selection of other United States History books especially those describing the revolutionary and founding period of our nation. Additionally, we have numerous books in our "commentary" section of U.S. History that provide thoughtful analysis and provocative ideas. Needless to say, the books are very timely for our current national situation and may help in understanding the controversies which we are beginning to experience. As usual, we also have an excellent selection of books in the other areas of the world but, frankly, right now I think understanding our own history is what matters the most." -Suzanne Little

Science Fiction & Fantasy

"In Science Fiction and Fantasy this month we have a couple of nice boxed sets of fantasy series, and a couple of large-format 'bedsheet' Analog magazines from the 1960s in unusually good condition, including an installment of Prophet of Dune (re-titled Dune Messiah for the book.)" -Rich McAllister

Philosophy for February 2017

"We have a broad assortment of new titles for February many of which we have not seen before. These include Molyneux's Question, The Making of a Philosopher, Pure Immanence, Philosophy of a Biologist, Space and Time, Conditions of Love and Descartes's Bones.

"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

Biography & Memoirs

"Everything You Always Wanted to Know, But Were Afraid to Ask About...JANE AUSTEN! This month we have an astonishing 20 (TWENTY!) volumes about J.A.'s unrequited love, her real and imagined worlds, her letters, her style, her sayings, and of course, her life. Best title: What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew. If however, personal and social history of 19th century England doesn't exactly entrance you, you might want to escape to the section next door entitled 'Adventurers, Courageous or Just Plain Foolhardy.' There you will have your choice of some thoroughly gripping vicarious adventures: e.g. surviving three tours of duty in Iraq as a bomb disposal specialist, masquerading as a gang leader for a day, being trapped for 33 days deep underground in Chilean mine, being held prisoner in a North Korean prison camp, escaping a Siberian gulag by trekking over the Himalayas and across the Gobi Desert. Suffice it to say, some people have lived lives stranger than fiction and far far stranger than dealing daily with congested traffic in Silicon Valley, and have miraculously lived to tell about them!" -Ann Justice

2017 February Music Books

Visit the Music section for books on a wide variety of musical topics in the genres of classical, rock, jazz, American music and dance. New this month - A Hard Day's Write; Sweat, Tears and Jazz Hands; Elvis 50th Anniversary Forever in the Groove; No Applause - Just Throw Money; That Band That Played On; What Makes Music Great?; Album Cover Album; Struggling to Define a Nation; Bob Marley Songs of Freedom; In the Groove - vintage Record Graphics 1940-1960; New Directions in Indian Dance.

Also browse our wide selection of sheet music neatly sorted by instruments including violin, piano, trumpet and guitar. -Charlotte Epstein

Science section

"The Science section is again packed with a lot of great books. This month we have special sections on robotics and meterology. As usual we have many shelves full of popular science books around the corner next to philosophy and throughout section. Our usual marked shelves (roughly from the main aisle down towards the corner are): popular science, popular math, advanced math, college math, calculus, geometry/algebra, chemistry, biology/genetics, physics, electronics, hobby electronics, geology, geography, mechanical and civil engineering, aeronautics and the space program, cosmology, practical engineering and science, history of science and technology, biography, Einstein, astronomy, cosmology, and general science writing.

"Additionally, there will be a $1 cart filled with very nice science/technology textbooks. We always suggest that folks look for science books in the Bargain Room. Because we get so many wonderful donations in our section, we never have room for everything in the main book sale room." -Dick Grote/Ed Walker

Psychology/Self-help for February

"This month we have a larger than usual section of books on LOVE and small books that make great gifts. Some current and popular books from 2015 and 2016 are: Grit, The Power of Passion and Perseverance; Why Therapy Works, on using your mind to change your brain; Looking at Mindfulness, about living in the moment through art; The Truth, an autobiographical book by investigative reporter Neil Strauss that makes you think hard about some uncomfortable aspects of relationships. Among other relationship books, are both the book and CD of the popular Hold Me Tight. There are also lots of books that might help you keep your New Year's resolutions, so enjoy browsing and see what draws you in." -Marnie Shuey

Sets for 2017 February

"In February we have several very good quality series of books, the Illustrated Bulwer's Novels, 1891, 21 volumes of a 32 volume set, $4 each, a series of 10 volumes by Jonathan Swift, 1964, $4 each.

"In Sets we have the 75th Anniversary five volume set in a slipcase of Audubon, $35, and the 3 volume set Encyclopedia Britannica, this is the 1971 facsimile of the 1771 edition, $15. We also have 11 volumes from Balzac's Human Condition, 1899, well-illustrated, $3 each. More 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 only counts as one book when you are buying within the 12 book limit." -Nigel Jones

2017 February Judaica

Browse the Judaica section for books on the Jewish religion, Kabbalah, Jewish history, the Holocaust, memoirs, Israel, Jewish Women, the Jewish American Experience and other related subjects. New this month: Four Jews on Parnassus; Entering Jewish Prayer; Skullcaps 'n' Switchblades; One Hundred Essential books for Jewish Readers; Hitler's Furies - German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields; To Paint Her Life - Charlotte Solomon in the Nazi Era; It Happened in Italy; Genocide - Conceptual and Historical Dimensions; Jerusalem 1913 - The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

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


"The Movie/Entertainment section is in the north/west corner of the book room. It is always easy to find because the African Queen is hanging overhead. Again this month we have an extra-large collection of books. Included, a record number of large format books (that coffee table is looking empty) and books on Hollywood and the History of Film. Look in the TV section and you may find the 3 volume set Classic Episodes of Star Trek.

In the section you will find (roughly from left to right in the section): modern culture, film writing, craft and movie business, TV, guides, large format, signed books, foreign film, film commentary and theory, Hollywood and film history, director's corner, choice biographies/memoirs, film tie-ins and scripts, and media and media studies." -Dick Grote

February Humor

"In February we have seven different versions of the New Yorker cartoons including the Complete New Yorker Cartoons with DVDs and for more cartoons, Inside Mad, Amphigorey, and Doonesbury Redux. For classic American humor we have four books by Mark Twain, as well as Lenny Bruce, Larry Widmore and Billy Crystal. For something Hollywood we have Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, and W. C. Fields. From the other side of the pond we have six by Wodehouse, Monty Python, and for the first time a book of humor from Graham Greene. Also be sure to look for Ten Thousand Stories in which you open up wonderfully illustrated panels and make up your own story.

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

Teen Recommendations by Tristan Wang

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

Following a violent coup incited by her murderous aunt Redd, Princess Alyss and her bodyguard desert a chaotic Wonderland through the Pool of Tears. But amidst the chaos they are separated, and Alyss finds herself lost and stranded in the Victorian London. Thirteen fateful years passed as royal escort Hatter Madigan searched in vain for Alyss. But alas, he has a promising lead. Stumbling across a novel depicting Alyss' tumultuous past, Hatter must track down the aspiring author whom the princess had befriended and, upon doing so, disclosed her ambient tale -- Lewis Caroll.

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Pacing through her family woods, Winnie Foster encounters a boy drinking from a local spring, and so stumbles upon the most well-guarded secret of a quaint family that never ages. But as pursuers encroach and explanations are revealed, Winnie soon discovers that eternal life is less a blessing than it might seem. In time, she too will face the choice of accepting immortality. But is it worth it?

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

A gruesome horror novel. Oskar is a reclusive boy whose mistreatment sets him increasingly inward, harboring morbid interests including an obsession for crime and forensics. That is, until Oskar meets Eli, a young girl, in a fateful encounter that materializes in an intimate friendship. But behind the seemingly naive romance, dark, macabre secrets begin to bubble to the surface as Eli is connected to a string of grueling murders that has ravaged the neighborhood.