Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

Saturday Dec 8
Ephemera 8am - 3:30pm
Main Room Sale 9am - 4pm
Bargain Room 9:30am - 4pm
Children's Room 10am - 4pm
Tent & Art Sales 9am - 4pm

Sunday Dec 9
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Autographed Books
Military History
Games & Puzzles
Holiday/Main 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.


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 in December and January
All library locations will open at 11am on Thursday, 13 December for a staff appreciation event.

All library locations will close at 6pm on Monday, 24 December and remain closed through Tuesday, 25 December for the Christmas holiday. Regular hours will resume on Wednesday, 26 December.

All library locations will close at 6pm on Monday, 31 December and remain closed through Tuesday, 01 January 2019 for the New Year's Eve holiday. Regular hours will resume on Wednesday, 02 January 2019.

All library locations will be closed on Monday, 21 January for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Regular hours will resume on Tuesday, 22 January 2019.

You can find out about closings and other Palo Alto Library events on the Library's event calendar. Check it out, it 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.
To the very generous people who donate books - and more - And to people who are thinking of doing so:

YOU ARE THE LIFELINE OF FOPAL and you have our unending thanks: we wouldn't exist without you! But we have a big favor to ask:
  • If possible, please hold donations until after our Saturday and Sunday Sale Days.
  • Books brought in a day or two before the sale may not make it onto the shelves that month. (If you wish to see them on display, plan accordingly)
  • No popular magazines, no National Geographic, no Gourmet, no Sunset.... FOPAL is phasing out accepting any periodicals.
Right before and during the sale, our Sorting Room (where books arrive) is filled as high as it's safe to stack them. We don't have room to sort - let alone store new donations. We make these requests in the interest of efficiency and the safety of our loyal volunteers. We are anxious never to turn away donations and will work to accommodate your travel and schedules.

Regular donation times are Monday through Saturday, 2 to 4 pm. If these hours won't work for you, volunteers are often available at other times to welcome you; please call us at 650-213-8755 to be sure someone will be there.

We can also schedule local pick-ups if you are unable to bring your donation to the Main Book Room (Marty's Room). Call 650-308-4933 and leave a message for our pick-up team.

Your treasures are our treasures AND ALL BENEFIT THE PALO ALTO LIBRARY. AGAIN, OUR WARMEST THANKS TO 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.

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.

December 2018 Sale Notes

December is a time for giving, here at FOPAL are giving our members another Members' Early Sale. All FOPAL paid members can get in earlier than the normal 11am start time. Because of this the usual Main Room entry procedure is changed. See the section below pertaining to the Members' Early Sale.

Christmas is around the corner and we've got plenty of Christmas books, music and more. Look for the Winter Holidays display just a few steps from the entry door on the right wall.... Our Military History section manager is featuring History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, this set is written by Samuel Eliot Morison, highly regarded as probably the best ever American military historian. The particular set is going for anywhere between $200 and $300 on Bookfinder this month, FOPAL is offering it for $100! The Autographed Books section has been completely restocked with signed books that were pulled from FOPAL's High Value storage. The Cooking section has had a strong month of new donations and our Games & Puzzles manager is also featuring a wide variety of video games.

Regarding the Elsie Lower Pomeroy art donation mentioned in our November Newsletter: FOPAL connected with Elsie Lower Pomeroy's great-granddaughter who is very happy to discover that these pieces have been found. She is acquiring this collection which will travel north to be curated for an Elsie Lower Pomeroy retrospective exhibition. Another great FOPAL story of donated pieces reunited with loved ones, finding their way home.

FOPAL Members Get First Pick at Members-Early Sale

A fun and festive FOPAL Members' Early Sale is scheduled for Saturday December 8th. 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.

Life Members Enter at 9am

At our Members' Early Sale, Life Members and Sponsors (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 & 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 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. At 11am, non-members are admitted. The limit on purchasing 25 books at a time lasts until there is no longer a line waiting to enter. New memberships can be purchased and expired memberships can be renewed beginning at 8am.

Enjoy a less crowded main book room and get first crack at our wonderful collection of materials. Books are always a welcome holiday treat! For members, another special treat, artisan roasted coffee will be offered by long-time volunteer and coffee connoisseur Dean Ujihara. Here is a list of the coffees he will roast/brew for this Saturday's sale. They all come from Sweet Maria's:

  • Tam Efriqa SWP Decaf African Blend: A lemon juice tang sets the stage, with flavors of stone fruit, dark cocoa, raisin, and interesting pumpernickel/rye note.
  • La Tacita Floral Gesha Blend: Jasmine to lily florals, bold citrus flavors, and vibrant acidity.
  • Sulawesi Saleko Toraja: Balanced bitter sweetness and a light citrus effervescence.
  • Ethiopia Dry Process Guji Gorgora: Big body, and rustic sweetness define the cup. Berry aroma, earth-toned date sugar, Fig Newton, blueberry, sweet tobacco, bittersweet cocoa, and a cherry wood note.
  • Nicaragua Ocotal Maracaturra Lot 1: Sweetness of panela and molasses, subtle fruited accents, notes of dried apple, and orange essence, as well as a chamomile floral touch.

Time permitting, Dean will make cold brew from this coffee:

  • Kenya Nyeri Ichamama Peaberry: A complex flavor compound, juicy and jammy fruit, intense raw sugar, striking citrus acidity, notes of blueberry, grape juice, ripe raspberry notes, and mandarin orange, and more.

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. 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 & 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.

Signed Books

"We have selected the cream of our signed books collection for the Members' Early Sale. Signatures include Muhammed Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, John Glenn, Wayne Thibaud, Timothy Leary, Thomas Keller, Shirley Temple, Elie Weisel, Edward Abbey, Armistead Maupin, Lady Bird Johnson, Mack Sennett, plus many political figures and writers." -Nigel Jones


"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.

"Our shelves are very full this month. We have a large collection of large format books that would look nice on a coffee table and also be interesting to read. Additionally there are shelves full of Hollywood and film history, film analysis and criticism, and movie bio's. We also have over 25 volumes of the Cadillac series of "the films of".

"Featured large format titles include:

Art of Walt Disney
The Art of Film Noir
Crime Scenes - Movies Posters and Art of Film Noir
David Selznicks Hollywood

"In the section you will find (roughly from left to right as you face the African Queen):

Small bookcase: modern culture, film writing, craft and movie business, TV, guides

Tall bookcase: radio, "films of" books, signed books, large format, foreign film, Hollywood and film history, film commentary and theory, director’s corner, choice biographies/memoirs

Smaller bookcase: Paperbacks, film tie-ins and scripts, and media and media studies." -Dick Grote

Children's Room

"This month we have a fresh batch of holiday books, many beautifully illustrated, for toddlers through teens. They include some pop-up books that are sure to thrill children (and their adults). Our DVD shelves are packed with bargain-priced movies for rainy-day entertainment. And our school-age fiction section features the Geronimo Stilton series, including many giftable hardbacks. Start your holiday shopping here and you may never have to brave the malls!" -Carolyn Davidson

Vintage Children's

"A whole shelf of G.A. Henry novels, such as The Boy Knight, Orange and Green and Rujub the Juggler, await your perusal. Lots of old favorites from Alcott to Lofting to Milne, Pyle, Sewell, Spyro and illustrator Wyeth are here. On the other side are picture books for little ones like Orlando (The Marmalade Cat), The Doll and the Kitten, Miracle of the Mountain, Parrak the White Reindeer and some Tintin adventures." -Nancy Cohen


"If you want to spread good humor over the holidays we can help you out. P. G. Wodehouse repeats again as author of the month with 16 books including three anthologies and three very good Hutchinson editions. Other UK offerings include Monty Python, Spike Milligan, and Jerome K. Jerome, and from Oxford, The Book of Parodies, and The Book of Humorous Quotations. Other titles include, The Dictionary of Sarcasm, Laurel and Hardy and The Complete New Yorker." -Nigel Jones


"New arrivals for December include three very good overviews of the topic, The New History of Western Philosophy, The Oxford Guide to Philosophy, and Introduction to Philosophy, also, a biography of Thoreau, and other titles including Ethics in the Real World, Soul of the World, and The Dream of Reality." -Nigel Jones


"The featured set for December is the 1996 edition of the 18-volume set of the Encyclopedia Judaica. This version is rare to be found as it's the complete update of the original release, it contains a Decennial update as volume 18. and is in perfect condition. For the Members Sale this is priced at $75. In poor condition, we have the remarkable and heavily illustrated 1866 Lloyd's Battle History of the Great Rebellion, an extraordinary document of the Civil War and a perfect gift for a Civil War enthusiast. Also it's a wonderful project for rebinding. Priced at $15. There is a selection of books in our pre-1900 area and from 1900 to 1940 we have quite a range of older individual volumes typically novels selected for their content and decorative qualities. There are some very good candidates for book arts this month."

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


"It's Holiday time in the Nature Section! Our window display features like-new (low-priced) books perfect for the book lovers on your gift list – Buzz, The Snoring Bird, The Hour of Land, Growing a Revolution, Dancing Dogs, Braiding Sweetgrass, Picasso and Lump, and seven different Audubon Society field guides that appear unread. As always, you will find shelves full of best-sellers, Bird, Insect, Tree and Plant guides, heart-warming pet stories, books on raising and training all varieties of pets, climate, ecology and many more topics related to our natural world. Our vintage books section has some unusual additions -- come and browse!" -Karen D.


"Visit the Music section for books on a wide variety of musical topics in the genres of classical, rock, jazz, opera, American music, and dance.

"New this month - Making Gourd Musical Instruments: Over 60 String, Wind & Percussion Instruments & How to Play Them; Swing under the Nazis: Jazz as a Metaphor for Freedom; Booze and Vinyl: A Spirited Guide to Great Music and Mixed Drinks; The Rock Monsters Monsters of Rock; Music in Vienna 1700, 1800, 1900; Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein; Madame Butterfly, an Opera in Two Acts - a fully illustrated story.

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


"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 - Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved, and Died Under Nazi Occupation; The Aleppo Codex: In Pursuit of One of the World's Most Coveted, Sacred, and Mysterious Books; Just Say Nu: Yiddish for Every Occasion (When English Just Won't Do); Psalms as Torah (Studies in Theological Interpretation): Reading Biblical Song Ethically; Einstein and the Rabbi: Searching for the Soul.

"Most fiction with Jewish themes will be found in Modern Literature, Classics, or Current Fiction. Books entirely in Hebrew are shelved in the European Languages section." -Charlotte Epstein

Travel Narratives

"This month we received three dozen brand new paperback copies of Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne who relates his stories of bicycling around some of the world's major cities and speaking with famous and ordinary folks. Good potential gift. It's a popular book: Amazon ranks it #35 in Excursion Guides and #49,000 overall. Online price is $14 new, $2 used + $4 shipping. Buy it this weekend at FOPAL's Sale for $1." -Jim Sutherland


"The History section has a stunning selection of sets this month. The highlight is a 22 volume set, The Great Events of Famous Historians, Americanism Edition, registered #151. Beautiful presentation - leather binding, embossed gilt front cover, top gilt. A bargain at $160. We also have a companion seven-volume set on the "Great War" (WW I) registered to the same individual but missing volume 5. It is priced at the rock bottom price of $30. Volume 1 of each set has the registration information.

"There are two Folio boxed sets in pristine condition: Empires of the Ancient Near East, and Empires of Early Latin America as well as a nice set of Durant's Story of Civilization. Getting in the holiday sale mood we've reduced our 12 volume set of Messages and Papers of the Presidents as well as reducing other sets such as George Washington, History of Private Life, etc. that were on our shelves last month.

"Of course, our other shelves also have interesting and unusual books. Many of them are in 'gift giving' condition and appeal. We hope that you enjoy browsing and buying in the History section this month. Happy Holidays!" -Suzanne and Irina

Comics and Graphic Novels

"Comics and Graphic Novels is packed this month, with many omnibus collections of classic comics, including EC, R. Crumb, and Cerebus the Aardvark." -Rich McAllister

Historical Fiction

"More Alan Furst spy novels, lots of books on the Civil War, WW 2, Ancient Greece and Rome." -Marian Urman

Health and Medicine

"The Health and Medicine sections celebrate December by featuring books which will not only be interesting and imaginative gifts for people you love -- you're guaranteed to find pleasure (and relief?) in choosing meaningful and caring information about their health: Priceless! We'll have some new special sections (anyone you know who's contemplating cosmetic surgery? Don Campbell's The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind and Unlock the Creative Spirit is also new to us. Look for MFK Fisher's A Cordiall (sic) Water: A Garland of Odd and Old Receipts to Assuage the Ills of Man and Beast. Bertrand Rouche's Annals of Medicine ran for five decades in the New Yorker Magazine and epitomized the 20th Century's finest medical journalism; one of the Annals was made in the 1956 movie, Bigger than Life. His book, The Medical Detectives was one of 20, and many of his medical mysteries were used in the television show HOUSE." -Verne and Ed Rice

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