Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

Saturday July 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 July 15
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Framed Art
Nature / Whales
Groovy Media/H2
YA Fiction / Sci-Fi


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 in July and August
As of this writing, no library closings are scheduled until Labor Day in September. Welcome to Summer!

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.
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.

July Sale Highlights

June is always a strong month for donations with plenty of quality! Highlights...The estate of Cubberley alumni & prolific Palo Alto artist Joseph Alvidres donated a wonderful lot of his artwork, mostly textile pieces and some oils and photos too. Joseph Alvidres was a member of the original Valley Gallery of Portola Valley, and his art has been shown in many local exhibitions over the last decade. You'll find these in the Framed Art section outside the entrance door on FOPAL's gallery fence. Another recent donation brings a lifetime collection of books about whales and small sea animals as well as sea adventures and the history of whaling. Look for a brimming special bay to your right of the entrance. Also, a nice collection is offered in the Nature section and in all our other sale rooms too. The enormity of this donation warrants holding a Whale of a Sale in August. LPs or as we like to call it Groovy Media are prominently represented in the Bargain Room. A late rush of Ephemera donations meant an overflow for our section manager there, so she's expanded to extra carts this month including an eclectic assortment of electronics. Our Vintage Children's Book section manager reports a selection of Young Adult/YA & YA Sci-Fi by authors Horatio Alger and Tom Swift books are for sale in the Main Room this month. Look for these collectible books in the small bay on your right at the head of the check-out line. Don't forget, if you come early we have a Tent Sale (weather permitting) right outside the Main Room entrance. It opens at 9am and everything there is only $1.00 each!

Vintage Boys' Mystery and Adventure Series

"We are offering a special this month on Horatio Alger books, Hardy Boys mysteries, and a few vintage sci-fi books including Tom Swift and Tom Corbett (Space Cadet). You will find these gems in the Main Room near the CDs at prices way below those offered online. Come check them out!" -K.C. Sarr


"This month the Gardening section is featuring a bumper crop of beguiling and informative books on CONTAINER GARDENING! Among the many books on plant choices and combinations, the vast array of attractive containers, and advice on soil mixtures, I would say the most complete and up-to-date is: Gardens to Go: Creating and Designing a Container Garden. Two other handsome volumes focus exclusively on Tillandsias (aka Air Plants) and Succulents." -Ann Justice

Science Fiction & Fantasy

"In Science Fiction and Fantasy this month along with the usual we have an entire shelf of Warhammer books, set in the grim dark worlds of the 401st century." -Rich McAllister

Classics & Modern Lit

"Dickens set, 20 of 21 volumes, price reduced to $50.00 for the set.
The Illustrated Faerie Queen by Edmund Spenser, is $8.00. Very nice! Top shelf.
Thackeray, Boxed set of 6 volumes for $4.00.

"Modern Literature:
Bottom shelves.
Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James. Box of three, box is $6.00.
Books by Jan Karon, three volumes, box is $3.00.
Books by William Kotzwinkle, three volumes, priced separately.
Hard back books by Marquand, $2.00 each.
Lots of New and carry-over books by KAFKA and VONNEGUT, including 1997's Time Quake.
Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell, 4 volumes boxed for $4.00.
Tom Wolfe books, priced separately, includes The Right Stuff.

"Top shelf, 'Nobel Winners', Galsworthy, set, Nobel Prize Edition of seven volumes, for $10.00.
Also some new titles by Janet Lewis, on the top shelf." -Laverne Bornschlegel

The West

"The collection in The West includes a number of books on the history of Palo Alto and on San Francisco. There are many interesting books on parts of the West other than California. There is a 13-volume collection from The Old West Series from Time Life, each volume priced at $2.00. There are lots of Western Fiction books including 17 books by Elmer Kelton (each at $1.00) as well as books by Larry McMurtry and Louis L’Amour and others." -Ed Walker

Children's Room

"If you're looking for something to keep kids busy during the summer, we have a solution! Our Activities section has loads of crafts supplies, many math and science project books, and games galore, in addition to some gift-quality Klutz books. And our School-Age Fiction shelves are overflowing with books from popular series, such as Magic Tree House, Geronimo Stilton, Rainbow Fairies, Captain Underpants, and Junie B. Jones. For older readers we have Wimpy Kid Diaries, Beacon Street, Witches, The Warriors, and Harry Potter, to name a few. For the youngest readers we have abundant board books and some very nice pop-up books. Come check us out!" -Children's Room Volunteers

Teen Reviews by Jeff Wang

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson always had strange events happen to him, causing him to be expelled from school after school. But when his math teacher, Mrs. Dodds, turns into a fury from the underworld and tries to kill him, a series of events unfolded that lead Percy to a disturbing conclusion: that the myths of ancient greece were real and that his father was, in fact, the god of the ocean, Poseidon. After his mother is captured by Hades, the god of the underworld, Percy must team up with his best friend from school (who is half goat) and another demigod on a quest to resolve the tension that was building up to a war between the gods over a stolen lightning bolt. Will Percy be able to return the master bolt and also save his mother?

Timmy Failure: We Meet Again by Stephan Pastis

Timmy Failure may appear to be a normal kid at first glance, but as hard as it may be to believe, he actually is a private eye who solves all sorts of cases with his sidekick, the polar bear Total. But the problem is, no one believes him, at least, no one will take him seriously. But despite this, Timmy is willing to do whatever it takes to expand his agency’s fame and reputation. Follow the delusional yet endearing detective’s hilarious antics, including dealing with being placed on academic probation, being forced to work on a school project with a rival detective, and solving the case of the "miracle report" and much more in the third book of the Timmy failure series.

Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

Inside a gypsy caravan behind a gas and repair station, Danny lived with his father, often helping him with his job as a mechanic. Despite the death of his mother and their poor living conditions, Danny was still living quite happily, as he had the most "marvelous and exciting father any boy could have". However, on one Saturday night, Danny, noticing that his father was absent, wandered outside and discovered his father's deepest secret: he poached pheasants from the rich Mr. Hazell estate. Although they did not need to resort to such method to survive, Danny's grandfather did, and passed on the tradition to his father. And now his father wants to pass on that tradition to him! What will Danny do? Mr. Hazell will be organizing a huge pheasant shooting party soon....

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 and Korean books this month. 中文书方面,我们有几本旧书,如《胡适文存》,《许志摩全集》等,还有若干本余秋雨的书。" -Haiyan Chen


"New arrivals for July include the following: The illustrated three-volume set Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, 1934 for $20; the illustrated Life Works of Guy de Maupassant, 16 books from a 17-volume set, 1903 for $50; the illustrated two-volume set Narrative of a Japanese, Heco for $30. Also for sale we have Funk and Wagnall's two-volume New Standard Dictionary, 1938 for $20; the Folio Society’s four-volume box set Lost Cities, 2005, in excellent condition, for $30 and G. B. Shaw's four-volume Music in London, for $10.

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


"New arrivals in July are the two-volume box set The Complete Far Side for $35, and four Wodehouse collections including the World of Psmith, ​the ​Jeeves Omnibus, Five Complete Novels and several individual books. In the world of cartoons, we have two Complete New Yorkers plus CDs, and their selections on Cats, Dogs, Technology and the classic Rejections. Also, not to be missed Further Cuttings from Cruiskeen Lawn by one of James Joyce's favorite Irish writers, Flann O'Brien.

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


"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 - Runnin' with the Devil; Maestros and Their Music: The Art and Alchemy of Conducting; Follow the Music: The Life And High Times Of Elektra Records; Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé; The Beatles: an Illustrated Record; Milk It: Collected Musings on the Alternative Music Explosion of the '90s; Uptight: The Velvet Underground 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 - They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood; Churchill and the Jews by Martin Gilbert; Rebels in the Holy Land: Mazkeret Batya, an Early Battleground for the Soul of Israel; Konin A Quest; L'Chaim!: To Jewish Life in America; The Haunted Smile: The Story Of Jewish Comedians In America; Tractate Kiddushin According to Meiri; Jewish Meditations by Aryeh Kaplan.

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


"New arrivals in July include the two-volume The Career of Philosophy, Jensen's Culture of Make Believe, Deininger's Problems in Social and Political Thought, Aune's Reason and Action, and two by Barthes, A Reader and The Fashion Statement. We have received a large donation of Philosophy in June so you will see many new titles in both bookcases and in our overflow in the Bargain Room." -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.

"We have a large number of books this month and these subsections are particularly full: Directors, Hollywood and Film History, Bios, Screen writing, and Media.

"Featured titles include: Fragments of Fear--Illustrated History of British Horror Film, May Pickford Rediscovered by Kevin Brownlow, Hank and Jim by Scott Eyman (Fonda and Stewart), Waiting for the Weather--Movies with Akira Kurosawa by Terupo Nogami

"Also we have more than 10 scripts of recent Academy Award nominees including Nebraska, The Wolf of Wall Street and American Sniper." -Dick Grote

Historical Fiction

"We have so many books in Historical Fiction, especially books about the Civil War and WW 2. We have lots of thrillers as well and seafaring stories." -Marian Urman


"Oliver Sacks has been called the 'Poet Laureate of Medicine.' He was also a renowned neurologist, a recovered addict, a somewhat fanatic motorcyclist and and a prolific and highly praised author whose books have been read the world over. They are about diagnoses (medical and psychiatric), fascinating patients, visions both ocular and hallucinatory, medical history, music, travel, a strange and wonderful uncle, consciousness, gratitude and an extraordinary life. We have received a collection of almost all of his work; he’s been as often praised for his clear, colorful, entertaining writing as for the scope and wisdom of his subjects. Everyone recognizes The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. Best of all, we’ve got several of his less well known titles: The River of Consciousness, Oaxaca Journal, Migraine.

"For students and/or teachers of Reiki: multiple copies of The Healing Touch: First and Second Degree Manual, a stress reduction technique, by William Lee Rand." -Verne Rice

European Languages

"Lots of Hebrew books, and 11 Dune books in Turkish." -Susan Strain


"WOW! FOPAL received a ton of art book donations from various large collections. There are so many wonderful books that it is difficult to describe them all. We received art books on many artists such as Beardsley, Chagall, Harnett and Turner. We also received more books on Impressionism, American Western collections, Indian Art, Art Deco and Architecture. There are currently some beautiful books on Japanese, Chinese and African Tribal Art. Finally, we maintain a limited high value collector art book section and we continue to lower the prices each month on all books in the art section." -Andrea Lozano


"Drama has some great books this month on George Bernard Shaw and on all of his plays this month. In addition, we have a large section of Greek and Roman plays, a huge section on Shakespeare and his plays, as well as many other Jacobean and Elizabethan plays and playwrights. We are also offering a lot books on acting (including monologues) and theatre craft. The Drama section is near the exit door of the Main Room." -K.C. Sarr

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