Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

Saturday January 14
Ephemera 8am - 4pm
Bargain Room 9:30am - 4pm
Children's Room 10am - 4pm
Main Room Sale 11am - 4pm
Tent Sale 9am - 4pm

Sunday January 15
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


European Languages
Nuclear Politics
Framed Art
Groovy Media


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 January and February
The Library will be closed on Monday, January 16 for the Martin Luther King holiday. Normal hours will resume on Tuesday, January 17.

The Library will be closed on Monday, February 20 for the Martin Luther King 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.
True in 2004 and Still True in 2017
"It's truly surprising how many valuable books are donated to FOPAL" -Marty Paddock, 2004.

This is still true in 2017! 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 books at the monthly sale but also at the Friends Kiosks at Downtown and Rinconada libraries, in an in-library store at Mitchell Park 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:


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 January 2017

Bookish problem #176 - Trying to come up with New Year's Resolutions that don't include reading more books. Did your New Year's Resolutions include reading more books or finishing the books you started last year? Well, this month FOPAL can help you with the former with an especially fine selection of books on almost every subject for you to buy. Look for First Day Print Stamp Books, and interesting reads on Nuclear Politics located in the Specials bays to your right as you enter the Main Room. In the smaller Special bay, near the cashiers, you'll find a nice selection of books from our European Languages area. A large donation of Groovy Media/LPs is available in the Bargain Room/H2, making this section fully stocked. Customers asked, what happened to the Ephemera sale last month? The rain made this sale area unavailable, as a result, you'll see two months of Ephemera donations being offered this Saturday 8am-3:30pm. Finally, it looks like the weather will cooperate this weekend and we'll have our Outdoor Tent Sale (all items $1.00) up and running if the forecast holds true.

Non-Profit Book Giveaway - New Year, New Policy!

Happy New Year! We are looking forward to a new year full of lots of donated books for you, our non-profit book selectors, to choose. The non-profit give away is getting more and more popular and we are delighted that so many people will benefit from the generosity of our donors. To ease the crowded conditions we are changing the way we have done things in the past. 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 send this information to: or call 916-936-4580.

Starting with the sale on Sunday, January 15th at 4:00pm, each organization will be 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

Stamp Special

"In January we have a unique offering of First Day Covers and Proofcards. We have over 30 complete sets including, from the UK, The Westminster Series covering the years 1979 to 1981, from the US, commemoratives from 1972 to 1979, Flora of the World, Birds, and other categories. The proofcard series covers Presidents of the US. This is an excellent way to add to your collection, start a collection or learn more about the topic areas covered. As philatelic material all the collections are in first class condition." -Nigel Jones

Science section

"The Science section is again packed with a lot of great books. This month we have an especially large selection of books on robotics and statistics. Additionally we have many shelves full of popular science books around the corner and in the 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


"The Movies/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 a nice collection of books. For example, a signed copy of Michael Krasny's memoir is available. We also have a large number of film studies and history books. Finally we have a small collection of "lobby books" sold in theatre lobbies in the 1950s and 60s for big productions such as Ben Hur.

"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

2017 January Humor

"In January we have six different versions of the New Yorker Cartoons including the Complete New Yorker Cartoons with DVDs. For classic American humor we have four books by Mark Twain including an anthology, and Gorey's anthology, Amphigorey Too. From the other side of the pond we have six by Wodehouse, also with an anthology. For something Hollywood we have Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, Laurel and the Three Stooges.

The two books of the month are Ten Thousand Stories in which you open up wonderfully illustrated panels and make up your own story, and a first for our shelves, the large size O is for Obama.

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

2017 January Judaica

"Browse the Judaica section for books on the Jewish religion, Kabbalah, Jewish history, the Holocaust, Israel, Jewish Women, the Jewish American Experience and other related subjects. New this month: Doomed to Succeed; The Jewish Century; Jewish Boxers Hall of Fame; Let There be Laughter by Michael Krasny; Unscrolled: 54 Writers and Artists Wrestle with the Torah; The Hebraic Bible in Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts; I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children's Drawings and Poems From Theresienstadt Concentration Camp; Women and the Holocaust: Different Voices.

"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

January Special: Encyclopedia Judaica

"The January Sets special, in the main aisle, is the complete 16 volume, 1972 edition, of the Encyclopedia Judaica, $35. It covers diverse areas of the Jewish world and civilization, including Jewish history of all eras, culture, holidays, language, scripture and religious teachings. The encyclopedia was written by Israeli, American and European professional subject specialists. Priced separately will be 8 related yearbooks." -Nigel Jones

2017 January music books

"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 - Twyla Tharp: The Creative Habit; Four Hundred Years of Music Printing; The Art of Flamenco; The Undiscovered Paul Robeson; Rock & Roll year by year; The Beatles Unseen Archives; Duran Duran the Book of Words; Time and the Dancing Image; Banda: Mexican Musical Life Across the Border; All the Stops: The Glorious Pipe Organ and Its American Masters.

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

Groovy Media

If starting a Groovy Media/LP collection is on your 2017 to-do list then FOPAL can help! Check out this article from Buzzfeed, and FOPAL's current offerings from the recent LP donations in the Bargain Room. We have all you'll need to start enjoying the sounds of analog recordings. "Analog aficionados will often attribute a ''warmth'' to pure analog sound." -Janette Herceg

Philosophy for January 2017

"We have a broad assortment of new titles for January including Jaeger's Paideia, volume II, Nussbaum's Fragility of Goodness, Magee's History of Philosophy, Shorto's Descartes' Bones, Popper's The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Hauser's Moral Mind, and a very interesting book, Bender's Chronotypes: The Construction of Time.

January's Special is Edwards's complete Encyclopedia of Philosophy in four volumes for $10.

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

Children's Room

"Many children have their own bookcases in their bedrooms, and for many homes children's books can be found displayed in almost every room of the house. For these families, reading materials are simply a part of everyday family life. For 2017 consider creating a kid reading corner with these things in mind: comfortable seating, storage for books and sufficient lighting. Children may want a place separate from the family library to keep books that have special meaning or value for them. By encouraging children to set aside their personal favorites, you are helping them express their affection for books, and showing them that you respect their reading. FOPAL is here to help the kids in your life develop their own reading space. With donations being strong over the holidays you'll find plenty of books, games, toys, puzzles and more to delight and enrich all the kids in your life." -Janette Herceg

Sets for 2017 January

"The most interesting offering in January is 11 volumes from Balzac's Human Condition, 1899, well-illustrated, $3 each. In January complete sets include, The Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, in nine volumes, 1960, $10; Delphian Texts, in 8 volumes, 1926, $10, and Stevenson's Works, limited edition set #176, in 10 volumes, 1906, $15. Also a very well-illustrated Autobiography of Cellini in 2 volumes, 1906, $6.

Incomplete sets with excellent illustrations, covers and bindings include: Stoddard's Lectures, 7 volumes, 1911, $3 each, American Statesmen, The Second Series, 8 volumes, 1911, $3 each. For the pre-1900 collector we have several volumes of Dickens, 1868, for $3 each and 3 volumes of Harper's Magazine, 1889, $3 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 only counts as one book when you are buying within the 12 book limit." -Nigel Jones

Teen Recommendations from Tristan Wang

It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

The ambitious Craig Gilner, New York City teenager, is set to succeed in life. But upon being accepted by the prestigious Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure builds to overwhelming proportions as he sinks into depression. Drowning in a world of too many Tentacles and too few Anchors, Craig is checked into a mental hospital, where he meets new unusual yet colorful acquaintances -- could this be the Shift he was waiting for?

The Tin Horse by Janice Steinberg

After years of resisting, elderly Elaine Greenstein finally decides to move to a retirement home. Packing her bags, she stumbles upon a clue to the whereabouts of her twin sister Barbara, who had disappeared at the age of 18. Plunged back into the past, Elaine recounts the the travails of her family's immigration, the heartaches of her teenage years, and the Depression and War that loomed in the midst of her troubled childhood.

Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan

Darren and Steve, sharing a fascination with the macabre, sneak out in the middle of the night to attend an old-fashioned freak show. But when the show turns out to be more grotesque and supernatural than the boys imagined, Darren finds himself faced with a terrifying decision, for which Steve must pay a serious price.

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