Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

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

Sunday April 15
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Vintage Travel
Framed Art
Better Books


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.


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 April and May
Rinconada Library will be closed for bed bug inspection on Friday, April 13.

Mitchell Park Library will be closed for bed bug inspection on Friday, April 20.

Children's Library will be closed until 11am on Saturday, May 5 because the Palo Alto May Fete Parade will be going on at 10am.

All libraries will be closed on Monday, May 28 for the Memorial Day Holiday.

You can find out about closings and other Palo Alto Library events on the Library's new event calendar. Check it out, it has a different layout from the old monthly calendar grid layout and has filters that let you select a date range, library branches, types of events, and other things. Wide desktop browsers will show these filters on the left of the window; narrow browsers will show a "REFINE" that can be clicked to reveal filtering options. It gets updated more frequently than this newsletter is issued, so you may find out about closings that we miss, like the bed bug inspections at Children's Library, College Terrace Library, and Downtown Library which were going on as we were putting this issue together but should be over by the time you get it.
True in 2004 and Still True in 2018
"It's truly surprising how many valuable books are donated to FOPAL" -Marty Paddock, 2004.

This is still true in 2018! 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
Monday "Free Night" Book Giveaway
From 6-8 pm on the Monday night after each monthly sale, everyone -- you don’t have to be a non-profit or a FOPAL volunteer -- may come and take away from the Bargain Room/H2 any amount of books and media. Be sure to pass along to all and as a reminder, bring your own bags and boxes.


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 April '18

For April FOPAL members are benefiting from another Members' Early Sale. All FOPAL paid members can get in earlier than the normal 11am start time. Because of this, the normal Main Room entry procedure is changed. See the section below pertaining to the Members' Early Sale.

Spring is upon us and generous donations keep coming in. This is the perfect time to pick up books to give or collect for spring break reads. From Better Books, check out a collection of books pulled from FOPAL on-line sales inventory now to be offered to our loyal sale customers at lower than our online prices! The History section this month offers shelves filled with donations that came in earlier this month. The Framed Art selection has been restocked with a wide variety of pieces, many limited editions from numbered series, as well as many pieces reduced in price from previous sales. The Computer section is fully stocked with new items, plus a huge collection of early computer magazines dating from the 1980s. You'll find some of this collection in our Ephemera sale, with the majority landing in the Bargain Room/H2. Look for a special collection of Vintage Travel books offered this April from longtime FOPAL volunteer Gerry Masteller, located in the specials bay just to the right of the entrance.

FOPAL Members Get the First Pick at Members' Early Sale

In celebration of FOPAL turning 80 years young, FOPAL's Members' Early Sale is scheduled for Saturday, April 14th! 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 Room and get the first crack at FOPAL's wonderful collection of materials!

Life & Sponsor Members Enter at 9am: 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 only during that first hour. Each Life Member and Sponsor Member must give the one Purchase Slip per membership to the cashier before 10am in order to purchase up to 100 books. If a Life Member or Sponsor Member exits without purchasing all 100 books, he/she may take the Purchase Slip and reenter to fill out the 100 books as long as they are purchased by 10am.

Other Members Enter at 10am: Members at all other levels can enter the sale at 10am, and purchase 25 books at a time.

General Public Enter at 11am: At 11am, non-members are admitted. The usual limit on purchasing 12 books at a time lasts until there is no longer a line waiting to enter.

Ticket Handout Procedure: Tickets for early arrivers are handled differently at the Members' Early sale. As is usual, tickets are given out beginning at 8am. Look for two check-in/ticket lines; one line for renewing members, new members and those members without a membership card, and one line for members with their cards. To speed your way through the ticket line please find and bring your membership card! Tickets given out are for the 9am and 10am lines at the Main Room, since most people who come early are Members of FOPAL. Each Member will get just one ticket, although Life and Sponsor Members may bring one guest between 9 and 10am and Family Members may bring in their families, consisting of one other adult and minor children, beginning at 10am. No tickets will be given out for the 11am line.

Join FOPAL Now: If you're not already a paid-up member, avoid delay at the sale by joining online now.

New policy for FOPAL Children's book sale goers

Starting this month with the April sale, we will be introducing a new policy regarding boxes holding places in line at the Children's Room on sale days. This new policy is being implemented after receiving, over many months, complaints from customers, input from volunteers and approval by FOPAL's Book Sale Committee. Simply stated it reads: People, not boxes, are line placeholders. A note to be handed out to all Children Room customers will be distributed again this Saturday as a reminder of the new policy. It is FOPAL's hope that our customers will appreciate our efforts to develop a fair line-up procedure.

If you have any thoughts or concerns please feel free to express them by emailing FOPAL at Thanks for your continued support of FOPAL!

Members' Early Sale Specials

"To celebrate FOPAL's 80th Anniversary we will be having specials of high value books that we usually only sell online. This will include a case of technology and Science books and a case of Travel and Travel Narrative books. This gives you the chance to see and handle high value books in person unlike online purchasing, and to avoid handling fees.

"The specials bookcases will be on the right hand side of the main aisle." -Nigel Jones

Vintage Travel

"Vintage early 20th-century artist color illustrated travel books, describing scenery, history, landmarks of special interest in visiting particular European countries, regions, cities. Unlike guidebooks, these books do not contain hotel or restaurant listings. They are by various authors and artists sharing their travels in an age when motoring was just coming into its own as a mode of touring. In publishing, recent developments in printing around the same time had made the color reproduction of artwork in books feasible and economical." -Gerry Masteller


"History shelves are bulging with books in almost every subdivision of our section! We have many books that we have not seen before or very rarely get. Enjoy the hunt! In our set area we have a beautiful History of the Crusades, three volume set published by the Folio Society, Will and Ariel Durant's History of Civilization, eleven volumes with a bonus twelfth book in the best condition we've seen in years. We also have a nice Dumas Malone's six volume biography of Thomas Jefferson. There are many other interesting sets including some vintage Historical Fiction sets on the bottom shelf. I'd also like to bring to your attention the bottom shelf of the Asia section where we have some very rare pamphlets published by the Foreign Language Press in 'Peking' in the 1950s and early 60s. They are part of a large collection on China that we have received and will be doing a special on next month." -Suzanne Little and Irina Cross


"Sizable donation this month brought many items to the main and bargain rooms. The Passion Play at Ober Ammergau 1872; The Girard Reader; Religion in Human Evolution; Bernard of Clairvaugh; Morals and Dogma (Freemasons 1871); Tillich's The Courage to Be 1952 (red cover) and more." -Nancy Cohen

Children's Room

"Mothers' Day is around the corner, and just inside our front door you’ll find a wonderful display of books for kids and their mothers, about mothers and mothering.

"The School-age Fiction section boasts three full shelves of Harry Potter novels, many in mint condition; Harry-Potter-on-CD sets (great for summer road trips); and books about various Potter-related subjects.

"Toys and Games has much to offer this month, including a sealed set of Lego Minecraft 'The First Night' and a sealed Cranium Turbo Edition game. We have a Fisher-Price Samurai Castle and many accessories, and a Fisher-Price record player. For comics collectors we have a large box of old Beano comics, priced to sell fast. If you’re looking for puzzles, check our shelves for vintage and newer puzzles. Finally, we have a Saxon Math Homeschool Kit for fourth grade." -Carolyn Davidson

Classic Fiction and Modern Literature

"We have a facsimile copy of Alice's Adventures Underground. It's in great condition, in binder. It's with the illustrated books on top shelf. Take a look! Also lots of Trollope on bottom shelf.

"Twenty or so ''Norton Critical Editions'' of classics. Bottom shelf, Classics.

"The Nobel prize winners have been shelved back in the regular alphabetical sections in Modern Lit and in Japanese and Chinese sections. There are two top shelves with new Nobel winners. There are novels by Herta Muller (born in Romania, resides in Germany, 2009) and by Imre Kertesz (Hungary 2002). It's the first time we've had these writers.

"Bottom shelf on first section of Modern Lit had lots of Lawrence Durrell and Daphne du Maurier. Kafka and Vonnegut are shelved on bottom shelves. D.M. Thomas books are featured on top shelf." -Laverne Bornschlegel


"There are many reasons to browse the Nature Section this month! Local collage artists love our vintage Nature books for their beautiful imagery -- enjoy the window display of some examples of their art. This month we received a large donation of like-new books from the Trails Series: North Bay, East Bay, The Peninsula, etc. In the 'Just In' section we offer several best-sellers: The Invention of Nature, The Genius of Birds, The Trainable Cat, Climate Shock, Animal Wise, The Education of Will, and many more. As always, you will find shelves full of Bird, Insect, Tree and Plant guides, heart-warming pet stories, books on raising and training all varieties of pets, true tales of high adventure and many more topics related to our natural world." -Karen D.


"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. The subsections which have particularly interesting books this month are craft and entertainment business, screen writing, foreign film and film analysis and criticism.

Featured titles include: The Dynasty Chronicles, Truffaut/Hitchcock, Empire of their Own, Focus and Howard Hawks", and two books on the meaning of The Wizard of Oz. (As frequent customers know, if you comes to the library sale often enough, you will find almost everything written)" -Dick Grote


"The pick of the litter for April is the large two volume box set The Complete Far Side. Other titles include The Pop Up Book of Nightmares, The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm, Mental Floss: History of the World, and Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance.

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


"The expression once in a blue moon, meaning two full moons in a month, has happened in Sets. The rarely seen 54-volume set Great Books of the Western World, 1952, has been donated twice in the last few weeks. This edition, with original slip cases, is in very good condition for $75. Also available we have Funk and Wagnall's two volume New Standard Dictionary, 1938 for $75, the Folio Society's four volume box set Lost Cities, 2005, in excellent condition, for $30. We have the excellent 10-volume box set of August Wilson's plays in perfect condition for $95.

"We have quite a range of older individual volumes typically pre-1940 novels selected for their content and decorative qualities.

"Don’t forget, a set only counts as one book when you are buying within the 12-book limit." -Nigel Jones


"New arrivals in April include Hegel's three volume set, Lectures on the History of Philosophy, Robert's The Logic of Reason, Landau's Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World, Sir Thomas Browne's Selected Writings, Bohm's Thought as a System and Pagden's The Enlightenment." -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: When Scotland was Jewish; Pastrami on Rye - An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli; Conversations with the Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson; The Story of Yiddish; The Ketuba: Jewish Marriage Contracts Through the Ages; A Wandering Feast: A Journey Through the Jewish Culture of Eastern Europe; The Heights of Courage: A Tank Leader's War On the Golan.

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

The West

"There is a wide selection of books on San Francisco, Greater Bay Area (including Palo Alto and Silicon Valley), the rest of California and other Western States. Small sections on Yosemite, Gold and Silver, Women of the West, and Western Fiction." -Ed Walker


"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 - Red Detachment of Women; Keyboard Interpretation; The Story of Christian Music; Bob Dylan The Essential Interviews; Greenwich Village 1963; The Violin: A Social History of the World's Most Versatile Instrument.

"In Better Books - The Music Producer's Survival Guide: Chaos, Creativity, and Career in Independent and Electronic Music; Beastie Boys: A Musical Biography (The Story of the Band); Venetian Instrumental Music from Gabrieli to Vivaldi; American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900-1950.

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

European Languages

"We received a shelf or two of books in Czech (including art books), a shelf or two of Portuguese, and more in French (mostly fiction). German books range from chick lit to Bach to history, and include Ein Munchner im Himmel (1911), an illustrated fable which explains why the Bavarian government never received its message from Heaven, and a book of paintings of life in POW camps in the Midwest, by an emigre." -Susan Strain

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.

"We have many Japanese books this month. 在中文书架上, 我们有若干本精美的绘画集和作者签名书, 还有一本民国初印刷的《新分类尺牍大全》。如果您喜欢收集中国元素的小物件,我们有几只景泰蓝花瓶和织锦挂画等。" -Haiyan Chen


"Spring is bustin' out all over -- and ready to assist you in your planting choices is an abundant variety of books in the Gardening section. For those of you planning a vegetable garden, we have two copies of John Jeavons' classic (7th ed) How to Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible, plus the most current edition of Rosalind Creasy's Edible Landscaping, as well as an attractive and informative guide entitled Grow Great Grub: Organic Food for Small Spaces. If you are intent on shifting your landscape to more drought-tolerant plants, we also have a copy of that invaluable reference Plants and Landscapes for Summer-Dry Climates. Finally, for someone who has grown everything (or at least tried), there is The Savage Garden, everything you wanted to know about cultivating carnivorous plants!" -Ann Justice


"Some of the Featured Books this month are: The Vanishing American Adult; The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning; The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK; Everyday Bias; Your Inner GPS; The Emotion Code; Your Body Knows the Answer; Option B; The Surrender Experiment; Freedom From Fear; Intuition Pumps; Smart and Scattered; The Widower's Journey. Featured favorites I've read are: The Book of Joy; Designing Your Life; Self Compassion. Be sure to check the shelves marked: 'Popular on Amazon', 'Marked Down', 'New Arrivals', and all the Subsections. There are Bargains Galore! I’ve also got some CDs including one on Focusing, which I found very helpful in my journey. So take some time to Browse and Enjoy, Marnie" -Marnie Shuey

This notice comes to you from the non-profit organization Friends of the Palo Alto Library. No trees were felled in the making of this e-mail. Visit our web site. Become a member by joining online.

Be sure to receive your own free copy of this e-mail notice so that you'll know about all special upcoming books sales. To sign up, just e-mail us. We carefully protect the privacy of your e-mail address. We will not share your e-mail address with any other organization and we will not use it for any purpose other than to send you these notices. If you do not wish to receive these e-mail notices in the future, please reply with the words "Remove Me" in the subject line.