Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

Saturday October 14
Ephemera 8am - 3:30pm
Bargain Room 9:30am - 4pm
Children's Room 10am - 4pm
Main Room Sale 11am - 4pm
Tent Sale 9am - 4pm

Sunday October 15
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Bargain Room LPs
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 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 October and November
The Library will be closed on Friday, November 10 and Saturday, November 11 for Veteran's Day. Normal hours will resume on Sunday, November 12.

The Library will also be closing early at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, November 22 and remain closed through Friday, November 24 for the Thanksgiving holiday. Normal hours will resume on Saturday, November 25.

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 Gondolas are restocked regularly with books for all interests.
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.

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.

November 11th: FOPAL Sale & CASP Open Studios

One great location: the Cubberley Community Center! Two great events.... November 11th, FOPAL and Cubberley Artist Studio Program (CASP) come together to offer bibliophiles and art connoisseurs an opportunity to shop/buy FOPAL's art books, framed art...then attend CASP's Meet the Artists Event and Open Studios! Look for more details in FOPAL's November Sale newsletter and on FOPAL's Facebook page. Please "like" and "follow" us when you visit, General info; CASP Open Studios - Wings E, F and U, Artist Presentations 12:00pm–1:00pm, Room H1. Watch fast-paced presentations from all the artists; hear about their work and workshops. Open Studios 1:30pm-5:30pm. Join the artists in their studios for workshops, art and refreshments.

October Sale Notes

Donation volume has been steady, and we want to send out a big thank you to all who have donated material for our sales as well as a big THANK YOU to FOPAL's Donation Pick-up team! Many sections have a backlog and as a result we expect to have strong sales all through the winter months. Speaking of which, you'll find Fall and Winter Holiday books, music, and more in the bookcases just outside the sorting/donation room (opposite Travel). We will restock this area with new material through December. Cooking has a larger than usual selection of cookbooks, food writing, and vintage recipe booklets, much of it from a huge estate donation. Look for a Hawaii Special curated by several section managers this month as well. This collection can be found in the specials bay near the cashier line. After several merely plentiful months, the Bargain Room/LP section again has a lot of groovy vinyl for you to choose from. A large donation of Children's books came in this month, many made the shelves but don't forget to check the Bargain Room. With several local schools clearing their library shelves FOPAL is the lucky recipient of hundreds of ex-library children's titles priced at $1.00 or less. These are just a few highlights; all of the shelves are full!


"Don't miss the special on Hawaii, the 50th state to enter the United States in 1959. Anthropology and History have combined their sections to present a wonderful array of books about the Hawaiian Islands. Included are eleven handsome leather bound volumes on various Hawaiian topics published by Island Heritage Limited from the Hawaiian Bicentennial Library collection.  We also have a deluxe numbered edition of The Hawaiians also from Island Heritage Limited.  As we were preparing the special other sections added books on Hawaii so in addition to anthropology and history books you will find a broad range of topics including Hawaiian art, travel, fiction, etc.

"Prepare for a visit to Hawaii or just read for the pleasure learning more about this wonderful tropical group of islands. You will find the special on the end cap near the cashiers and the CD's. Enjoy!" -Linda Wauk, Anthropology & Suzanne Little, History

Children's Room

"We don't want to scare you, but the holidays are coming! In addition to a great selection of Halloween books just inside our door, we're offering the first of three installments of Christmas, Hanukkah, and other winter-themed books. We have more holiday books than we can display in November and December alone, so shop this month and you may be able to cross some names off your gift list. Our regular sections are also full of great books, games, crafts, DVDs, and puzzles for children. We have lots of classroom materials, too. Come and see!" -Carolyn Davidson


"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, we have a great number of bibliographies. They can be found on the bottom two shelves of the tall shelf, outside on the movie cart, and there are several paperback bios which are great for a trip. Some of the featured bios include Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Barbara Stanwyck. The shelves are also full in the Hollywood/History, Media, TV, and film tie-in subsections.

"Featured titles include: The Story of Hollywood, Michael Palin's Halfway to Hollywood, and The Coen Brothers.  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

Classics and Modern Literature

"Charles Dickens: Set of novels, Illustrated by 'Phiz'. (H. K. Browne). Printed for Nottingham Society subscribers, circa 1900, we have 18 of the 20 volumes of the set, $75.00 for the set. On the Modern Lit side on the bottom shelf, there are books separated into groups by author: Faulkner, Ferber, Fitzgerald, Galsworthy, Greene, Hemingway, Lawrence, Lessing, London, Robbins, Roth, Stegner, Steinbeck, Updike, Waugh. Also, Amos Oz' books are now in Judaica." -Laverne Bornschlegel

Asian Languages

"Asian Languages section has two locations. One is in aisle 13. This aisle displays many Chinese CDs and DVDs of music, movies and dramas. The other location is in aisle 8 hosting a lot of books in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian and Vietnamese. Some are very old items. You can find all kinds of books, such as art, history, political novels and cooking.

十月份我们有许多不错的中文书籍,如贾平凹的《浮躁》,余华的《兄弟》等等; 还有十多本民国旧书和一些作者签名书,期待您来收藏。" -Haiyan


"The last of the TE Connectivity (formerly Raychem) library donation is on the shelves. A new donation strong in geology titles from a retired NASA scientist is also on the shelves. Because of the large volume of items received, the bargain room again has a large selection to offer in many different shelf locations. Look for the signs." -Edwin El-Kareh

The West

"Come see what is new in California history and books with Western themes, including Western fiction. We have our usual sections on San Francisco, the Bay Area, and California Missions, and we have an expanded section this month with great books on Lewis and Clark. Come take a look." -KC Sarr


"When you read a history book do you ever wonder how accurate and objective the book is? Could you be reading 'fake news'? This month the History section is having a special on Historiography i.e the techniques, theories and principles of historical research and presentation. We have some intriguing titles such as Imagined Histories, The Noble Dream, The Memory of Modern that deal with various approaches to history and revisionist history. We even have a Pocket Guide to Writing History if you want to create your own history book. Particularly in this time of claimed fake news and conspiracy theories of history this topic is very timely. Some of the most eminent historical writers such as Toynbee, Gibbon and MacMillian are among the authors represented in this special. It is located in the History section where Sets usually are. (Sets are on the bottom shelves this month.)

"If you are a Francophile be sure to check out our France section. It is absolutely packed with a great selection of books about France.

"Happy Historical Sleuthing!" -Suzanne Little & Irina Cross

Art Section

"FOPAL received an abundance of Art books this last month. They represented different artists and genres not often received. The list included M.C. Escher art books, puzzle book, and kaleidocycles models. Other artists included George Toker, Jean Baptiste Corot, Jusepe de Ribera, Henri Rousseau, Rene Magritte and Gustave Cailebotte. We also received some wonderful books on Architecture, American West, Historical Poster Art, biography and How to Books. Finally, there are some wonderful new books from various art museums throughout the country. Last but not least were books containing beautiful prints. Great for collecting and framing!" -Andrea Lozano


"Several large donations have come this month. Overflow items are on the lowest shelves in Science section in Marty's Room. In the Bargain Room the overflow above and around where Russian History is. Positive proof that Danielle Steel was prolific and translated is available this month." -Edwin El-Kareh


"Numerous volumes of The Expositor's Bible reduced in October. Look for OAHSPE, A New Bible in the Words of Jehovih. Bruce Metzler's Chapters in the History of New Testament Textual Criticism. Vernon Neufeld's The Earliest Christian Confessions. Malcolm Muggeridge's paperback edition of Jesus The Man Who Lives. Mission Presidio Diary San Francisco 1776, portions from the diary of Antonio Rosario Ortiz translated and retold by Parker Lochiel Johnston." -Nancy Cohen

Philosophy for October 2017

"In October, we have four very good editions on Plato from the Bollingen series, Dennett's Bacteria to Bach, McLellan's Utopian Pessimist, Lakoff's Philosophy in the Flesh, Chamberlain's Nietzsche in Turin, and The World Café. Don't forget the Bargain Room: there was not enough shelf space in the Main Room for all the books received and there are excellent books to be found there as well." -Nigel Jones

Sheet music

"Some interesting and less common singing items are on the top shelf. Unexpected donation of horn music arrived. Some new trumpet and trombone items add to a healthy stock in those instruments. Plenty of items were also sent to the Bargain Room." -Edwin El-Kareh

2017 October 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: Tango: The Art History of Love; How Music Works; Savion!: My Life in Tap; Reinventing Bach; The Vibe History of Hip Hop; The Protest Singer; Guerrilla Radio: Rock 'N' Roll Radio and Serbia's Underground Resistance; Player Piano Treasury; Lift Every Voice and Sing

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

October Humor

"New arrivals in October include A Pirate Looks at 50 by Jimmy Buffett, the great British comedian Frank Muir's Irreverent History, Time on Fire by Evan Handler, and Monty Python's Celebration. The most unusual book is Gallery by caricaturist David Levine, a loose-leaf collection of drawing. On the graphic side, we have cartoons related to the New York Museum of Modern Art, a collection of Charles Addams and the hard to define Edward Gorey.

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


"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: The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb; The Year of Living Biblically; Synagogues without Jews; Nazis on the Run; Haddasah and the Zionist Project; The Jews of Sing Sing; The Rebbe's Army; Jewish Portraits, Indian Frames - Women's Narratives From a Diaspora of Hope; The Great Latke-Hamantaschen Debate; Sins in the Marketplace.

The Modern Literature section has shelves for Judaica Fiction. Books in Hebrew with no English translation will be found in European Languages." -Charlotte Epstein

Nature for October

"The shelves are bursting in the Nature section this month... over 1,000 books! Mushroom season is starting soon and we have a special collection of large, beautifully illustrated books to help you forage: Mushrooms of North America, A Color Treasury of Mushrooms and Toadstools, The Great Encyclopedia of Mushrooms, and The Complete Book of Mushrooms. On to the New Arrival Section where we offer: Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, Sea Glass, In Defense of Dogs, Maps of the Imagination, The Human Economy, The Complete Holistic Dog Book and dozens more. Our other sections include Nature Writers, Animal Stories, California Hiking, Animal Training, and our popular Vintage Collectables, to name just a few." -Karen D.

Teen reviews by Tristan Wang

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The isn’t much adventure going on for easygoing Ivan, the silverback gorilla resident of the decrepit Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. But when Ruby, a baby elephant arrives, change comes with her, and Ivan realizes the only way to shield Ruby from harm is to pursue the one thing he never bothered to ask for -- freedom.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backlan

Ove's neighbors have taken to calling him "the bitter neighbor from hell." But when a young couple accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox while moving in next door, they unwittingly uncover the sad, comical, and heartwarming story behind the grumpy exterior of the elderly man.

The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

One of the earliest classic sci-fis to detail conflict between extraterrestrials and humankind. With their home planet dying, the Martians invade Earth in a vicious and desperate conquest, beginning with the quiet town of Woking. With unmatched technology, the aliens cause severe turmoil and were finally halted by an abrupt demise in Victorian London.

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