Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

Saturday January 13
Ephemera 8am - 3:30pm
Bargain Room 9:30am - 4pm
Children's Room 10am - 4pm
Main Room Sale 11am - 4pm
Tent Sale 9am - 4pm

Sunday January 14
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Signed Books
Sports & Transportation


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 15 for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. It will reopen on Tuesday, January 16.

The Library will also be closed on Monday, February 19 for the President's Day Holiday. It will reopen on Tuesday, February 20.

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.
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


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.

Start a family library in 2018!

If you ask many book lovers, the most important piece of furniture in a room is the bookcase. A home library doesn't have to be elaborate or expensive to provide rich reading experiences. Many children have their own bookcases in their bedrooms, and for many homes 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. FOPAL can help you fill your family library with a wonderful assortment of books and it won't cost you much at all. With regular trips to our monthly sales and by visiting each of our three sales rooms you can easily create a family library for 2018. Remember, just about anything goes in a family library. Paperback and hardcover books, a dictionary, an atlas, song books, magazines for parents and kids, newspapers....

If you need suggestions for books while shopping FOPAL's book rooms look for a volunteer floor person and ask for their advice. Most of our volunteers are avid readers and would be eager to point you in the direction of books perfect for you and your family.

If you're looking for books during the week or on non-sale weekends, then you'll want to check out the Mitchell Park, Friends of the Library Book Store or the Downtown or Rinconada FOPAL gondolas. These sales areas are open during library hours and restocked weekly with fresh books on a variety of subjects.

Signed Books

FOPAL's Signed Book special is back! When researching a book for sale at FOPAL one point mentioned to new volunteer researchers is to "look in the book". What can be found in a donated book could be anything from a love note to pictures, to money or (almost as good as money) an inscription and authors signature. From the website Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America's article entitled Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Is "Flat Signed" Better?: I discovered this tidbit to share... "Few if any collectors today care if Jules Verne or H. G. Wells inscribed a book to an unknown person. Just the opposite, a long inscription is preferred. Why is that true? Because of course these authors are now no longer signing anything, and it is easier to authenticate an inscribed and signed copy, so the more words from the master's hand, the better. Who knows, maybe in a hundred years, Ray Bradbury's signature may be worth something and a book with a long inscription and maybe one of his drawings - priceless?...My point in telling you all of this is simply to point out that the more words on your autographed items, the better!" -Barry R. Levin Look for the January Signed Book special books in the first and second bay to your right as you enter the Main Room, labeled "Signed Book Special".


"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.

"Entertainment is packed again this month. There are books in every category, but biographies (e.g. Joan Bondell, Sean Austin, Walter Brennan Fanny Brice, Sterling Hayden), director's corner, Hollywood history, and film craft and screen writing are especially full.

"Featured titles include: David Thompson's New Biographical Dictionary of Film, Jimmy Stewart Bomber Fighter, Audrey Hepburn Photographs 1953-1966, Manufacturing Consent, and Hard News. The last two titles are representative of media studies which seems to be more important these days.

"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

James Joyce Archive (63 volume set)

Editor: Michael Groden; Published by Garland Press (1978) - An unprecedented project in literary scholarship, the James Joyce Archive consists of photographic reproductions of Joyce’s original manuscripts, notes and letters collected from various libraries and archives all over the world and brought together in one massive set of 63 bound volumes. There were only 250 sets published and most likely exist only in libraries. Our research indicates that the complete set was originally offered for ~$5000. Due to the unusual nature of this set FOPAL is offering it at a price of $2500 while also entertaining offers from interested buyers. Please contact for more information, to arrange to view the material, or to submit an offer.


"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: Built to Last: Grateful Dead's 25th Anniversary Album; In Character: Opera Portraiture; Opera, Sex, and Other Vital Matters; Ed Sheeran: A Visual Journey; How Music Works by John Powell; Beethoven's Anvil; Emblems of Mind: The Inner Life of Music and Mathematics; Sticking It Out; Ukulele: The World's Friendliest Instrument; The Fifth Beatle. 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: One Hundred Essential Books for Jewish Readers; Outwitting History; The Gold Train; Let There Be Water; Scrolls of Testimony; Genesis by Robert Alter; Stardust Lost about the Yiddish Theatre in America; Israel 2000 Years; small Hebrew-English prayerbooks in metal bindings.

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


"Expositor's Bible. 34 volumes all for $60. Herbert Bolton's Rim of Christendom. Seeberg's Textbook of the History of Doctrines. Ali-Yonah's Our Living Bible." -Nancy Cohen


"Whether rainy, sunny, or somewhere in between this January, the Nature Section has the perfect book for you. Rainy? Curl up with: Gifts of the Crow, Climate of Hope, The Hidden Half of Nature, To See Every Bird on Earth, Thirst (the follow-up to the PBS documentary), The Whale, The Snake Bite Survivors Club, Bats Sing, Mice Giggle, etc. Sunny? Grab a guide on local birds, wildflowers or insects, then visit the California Local Hikes section for places to find them. In between? We have the latest books on dog-training, setting up an aquarium to choosing the perfect pet, as well as classics from Darwin, Thoreau, McPhee and many others. Don't forget the Vintage Collectable section for low-priced books full of images by treasured illustrators." -Karen D.


"In January, we have a bumper collection of Wodehouse, 12 volumes in various conditions. Other titles include Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead - National Lampoon, Borat's Touristic Guidings, Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave (signed), Moranthology, Small Victories, Hyperbole and a Half, Angry Optimist about Jon Stewart, and a first appearance of the cartoon book Point Your Face at This.

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


"January must be Wittgenstein month as we have ten volumes for you to choose from. Other titles include Lynch The Nature of Truth, Derrida Psyche, Gottlieb Dream of Reason, Beckley Sticky Sublime, Kass The Challenge for Bioethics and Mossner's biography of Hume. Making its first appearance is Legge's compendium The Chinese Classics. We also still have a Great Courses three volume set entitled Philosophy and Religion in the West priced at $10." -Nigel Jones

Modern Literature (20th Century)

"Lots of new titles from authors that I am not familiar with and haven't shelved before: Elizabeth Bowen, John Hawkes, M.J. Farrell (Keane), Elizabeth Taylor, Antonia White, and Fay Weldon. They are on bottom shelf, 20th Century Literature side, starting with the first section, next to the pay tables. Also more books by Barbara Pym, Jean Rhys, Margaret Drabble, and Virginia Woolf. These are shelved alphabetically in 20th Century side.

"Dorothy M. Richardson (1873-1957) novelist, compared to Joyce Proust, and Virginia Woolf, wrote 13 novels, loosely based on her own life, collectively called Pilgrimage. We have a 4 volume paperback set, tatty covers and cheaply done. $4.00, bottom shelf, 20th Century." -Laverne Bornschlegel


"Edgar Allen Poe, Complete Works, Volumes 1-10. Set price reduced to $50. Charles Dickens circa 1930. 15 book set. Set price reduced to $30.

"16 Volumes of a set of French Classical Romance, c1902. Priced individually, $1 each. Part of a set of Booth Tarkington novels: 1900-1920. 13 vol. priced individually, $1 each. These sets are on bottom shelves, Classic side.

"Three volume boxed set of Proust, $9. Also first time on our shelves. Proust in seven volumes, boxed, paper. Very nice! Set is $25.00. Top shelf, classics." -Laverne Bornschlegel


"Four new sets have arrived in December in time for the January sale. First is the 21 volume The Annals of America covering 1493 to 1986 in excellent condition for $85. Second, in perfect condition, is the 2001 three volume Folio Society Edition Empires: the Aztec, Maya and Incas for $25. Third, the 18 volume [1902?] set of Luise [Louise] Muhlbach the preeminent writer of historical novels in the late 19th century, for $35. Fourth, the large format 6 volume, 1898, Plays of Shakspere edited by Charles Knight, for $115.

"Don't forget, a set only counts as 1 book when you are buying within the 12-book limit." -Nigel Jones


"The drama bookshelves include an unusually large selection of the scripts for Shakespeare plays." -Robert Jackson


"FOPAL recently received wonderful art books to start off the New Year. Highlights included an assortment of collector books and magazines representing different decades in art and review. The publications included Art Bulletin magazine dating back to 1924 and 1930. In addition, various Horizon, Skira, Art in America and Portfolio publications. We also received some wonderful collector Firenze postcards and classic books on art theory and art instruction.

"Other new arrivals included a fantastic assortment of 'How to' books for pastels, drawing and painting. Now is the time to find a new way to express yourself creatively." -Andrea Lozano

The West

"The West calls your attention to an interesting Stanford University collection including materials about the founders, significant teachers, and natural history and trees of the campus.

"Women have often been entirely invisible in history as it is often written. To celebrate the current focus on women in all areas of life, The West is featuring a shelf of books exploring the many roles of women in the unfolding of the West." -Romola Georgia


"Waterwise, Drought-Tolerant, Water-Conserving are the current watchwords in making fresh landscaping choices. To help you re-think that lawn, escape a heck of a lot of maintenance, and create a garden that actually looks good on twice-a-week watering, take a look at all the books we've got on the WATERWISE/CA/NATIVE shelf. There are many volumes this month with titles like Plants for Dry Gardens, Trees and Shrubs for Dry California Landscapes, and Designing California Native Gardens. And don't forget to check out the shelf below for books on HERBS - they're attractive, tough as nails in our summer-dry environment, smell nice, and are actually useful!" -Ann Justice

Psychology Self-Help

"We have an especially large number of new arrivals this month, some of which are on two marked shelves. Featured books this month include: Designing your Life; The End of Average; Rising Strong; Pre-suasion; Creative Confidence; The Confidence Game; How to Create a Mind; Letting Go; On Edge; Ethics. Look for a special shelf, Making Changes in 2018, with some books to support you in your resolutions and intentions! You can find other books you may want to buy on the ‘Top Sellers on Amazon’ shelf or in the sub-sections, located on the two right bays. All books are priced well below (at least 50% off) Amazon used book prices. Peace and Joy to you in the New Year and Beyond" -Marnie

Teen Recommendations by Tristan Wang

Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson

Jesse is a schoolkid burdened by duties on his family farm and the constant agitations of his sisters. Leslie, though privileged by wealth, is often overlooked by her indifferent parents. United by their ostracism, the pair form an unlikely friendship and construct an imaginary refuge from the pains of reality. Their kingdom is Terabithia, and within its borders they are king and queen. But when calamity strikes, it is up to Jesse to weave contentment from his tragedy.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

Edward Tulane is a china rabbit who enjoys a pleasant but vain life under the care of his young mistress, Abilene. But upon the fateful day he was lost in the ocean, he must learn what it means to lose, to love, and find his way back again.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

In a dystopian future, parents can choose to have their children "unwound" -- dismantled and harvested for organ donation. Enter Connor, Risa, and Lev, three teens united by a single goal: surviving until the age of eighteen, when they will be considered legal adults and no longer subject to "unwinding". As their lives hang in the balance, the trio strives for their freedom -- and for answers.

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.