Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

Saturday May 12
Ephemera 8am - 3:30pm
Bargain Room 9:30am - 4pm
Children's Room 10am - 4pm
Main Room Sale 11am - 4pm
Tent Sale 9am - 4pm

Sunday May 13
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Travel Narratives
Puzzles & Games


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 May and June
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.

One of the other things you can filter on is programs, and one of the programs is SRP, which stands for Summer Reading Program. Which filter reveals that this year's Summer Reading Program has its kick-off party at Mitchell Park Community Center on Sunday, May 28, from 2pm to 4pm.
A Reminder about the 12-Book Limit

In November of 2014 FOPAL implemented the following rules to be followed during the period of the 12-book limit rule. These rules still stand and will continue to be enforced. We ask all shoppers to honor the following rules:

  1. EARLY IN THE SALE, each customer may select up to twelve (12) books, sets of books, or other items. They must be purchased and taken outside of the sale room. Customers may then return to the waiting line (if any) and re-enter the sale as often as they like. Note: The FOPAL Sale Manager will announce when this limit is lifted.
  2. Adult shoppers may bring in no more than ONE GROCERY-SIZED BAG or ONE GREEN FOPAL BAG.
  3. For safety's sake, NO boxes, large backpacks, carriages, or strollers will be allowed. Bags and other large items must not block access to shelves - they are a tripping hazard.
  4. Do not take books away from their sections to review them. If you remove a book to look at it, please replace it neatly on the shelf. Covering, hoarding, and/or stashing books are not allowed. Keep your books with you; abandoned books will be re-shelved.
  5. Avoid crowding, pushing, verbal disagreements, and aggressive interactions with other shoppers, staff, or volunteers.
  6. SCANNER/CELL PHONE USAGE- some customers have voiced their concerns about the use of scanners. Although some book sales do not permit their use, FOPAL permits them with the expectation that all customers will act in a manner that is respectful to other patrons, volunteers, and staff. If you are using a dedicated scanner, please be mindful of the area and other customers around you. If you are not using a scanner, please keep in mind that those who do are also customers.

Our goal is to make our book sales as pleasant and rewarding as possible, for as many customers as possible. We are grateful for the support of most of our shoppers in honoring these rules. We ask for the commitment of our "business clients" in considering the rights of all of our customers and observing our rules.

Many thanks to all of 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.

What's special for May 2018

Our moms are often the first people to teach us how to read and our first "librarians". That's why FOPAL loves moms and we love celebrating all of the wonderful moms in our lives on Mother's Day. Every year, millions of us purchase a bouquet of flowers to honor the mothers in our lives. This year, why not celebrate her with a bouquet of books? FOPAL has everything you need for your personalized arrangements. Check out or Saturday Ephemera area for a basket, bowl, or tin then fills it to the brim with books!

In our "specials area" look for a huge selection of History books about China. History section managers Suzanne Little & Irina Cross have been waiting for the chance to feature a special collection of History books about China. Chinese history buffs or wannabe historians are going to want to check this out.

The Travel Narratives section is busting with terrific donations. Look for an impressive selection of Antique Travel books left over from the April sale donated from a personal collection filling the shelves.

The Computer section received dozens of books and software this month. Come check out the selection of books in the Main room and software located in the Bargain room/H2. The Puzzles & Games volunteers said this month "it feels like we're also holding a garage sale!" And, if that's not enough to entice you the majority of the donation in this area can be purchased in the Bargain Room/H2. Art continues to offer amazing books in every subsection, history, fine art, studio art...our Art loving donors were generous again this May.


"Today as China becomes ever more important in world affairs how much do you know about the country with the largest population in the world and one of the oldest civilizations? Our History section is here to help you learn more. We have a wonderful special on China this month. Most of the books are from the collection of a recently deceased Stanford Professor and Director of International Relations programs. His primary field of concentration was China. Part of his collection is being offered this month and more of the collection will come in future sales. This month we added books about Chinese art to the display as well. This special is located in two bookcases on your immediate right as you enter the sale room. There are additional books on China in the Asia division of the History section." -Suzanne Little and Irina Cross


"There are always many books on great artists representing various eras and cultures. This month we received unique books representing American trends during the past century. The books include copies of original works through posters, calendars, ads, murals and comics. Books include Pulp Art, Art of the Calendar, Posters American Style, All American Ads of the 40s, At work: The Art of California Labor, American Motel, Peter Arno, Classic Pin-up Art of Jack Cole, and Depression Modern: The Thirties style in America.

"Finally, take a look our collectible art books of high value made available at the monthly art sales." -Andrea Lozano


"An interesting new arrival in May is the box case Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary reproduced micrographically into two volumes for $15. The type is so small that the box has a small drawer and its own magnifying glass. Other titles are the rarely seen complete 54-volume set Great Books of the Western World, 1952 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. There are some very good candidates for book arts this month.

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


"Bookending our top shelf of new arrivals we have two American geniuses with four books by Mark Twain and three books by Charles Addams, which is not to disparage the books in between such as five books from the New Yorker Cartoon series, as well as cartoons by Webster and Silberstein. In terms of British humor we have some of the best representations from the last several decades including Puckoon, The Goon Show, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers and Jimmy Nail and for those of you who are into the classics we have 14 books by the incomparable P. G. Wodehouse.

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

Curious Books

"There are some unusual formats in Curious Books this month. You will find three pop-up books, two of which are very large: The Pop Up Book of Phobias and America the Beautiful. One is very small: Tiny Kittens. There is also a unique Stereoscope book called Minnesota in 3-D.

"Other wonderful titles include: Achilles Talon et Le Coquin de Sort, Chipmunk Seeks Squirrel by David Sedaris, My Favorite Things by Maira Kalman, 101 Reasons Why a Cat is Better Than a Man, Grumpy Cat, Backwards in High Heels: The Impossible Art of Being Female, Hi-Fi and Hi-Balls: The Golden Age of the American Bachelor-1950-1960, The Bodacious Book of Succulence by Sark, Lang's Compendium of Culinary Nonsense & Trivia and Eats, Shoots & Leaves." -Pat Blumenthal

Historical Fiction

"Lots of books especially on WW it was experienced from different parts of the world. Also check out thrillers and sea stories in our section." -Marian Urman

Children's Room

"School will be out very soon, and the Children's Room is the place to find great reading for the summer! Our school-age fiction section has loads of books for teens, in addition to Harry Potters and several American Girl book sets, all like new. We have books for younger readers, too: Geronimo Stilton, Magic Tree House, etc. The picture book section offers beautiful giftable hardbacks and several elaborately engineered pop-up books that will engage children's imagination. Under the windows there’s an abundance of colorful board books for the youngest "readers." Activities has math books and workbooks too, and some great science kits. Non-fiction offers many fascinating biographies this month, for example, Iditarod Dream; Philip Reid Saves the Statue of Freedom; Nobody Owns the Sky; The Adventurous Chef: Alexis Soyer; and My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers. Look for several brand new copies of Star Wars: Incredible Cross-Sections. And of course, our books, puzzles, and games are always affordable. Come and shop!" -Carolyn Davidson

Teen Recommendations by Tristan Wang

The Tin Horse by Janice Steinberg

After years of resisting, elderly Elaine Greenstein finally decides to move to a retirement home. Packing her bags, she stumbles upon a clue to the whereabouts of her twin sister Barbara, who had disappeared at the age of 18. Plunged back into the past, Elaine recounts the travails of her family's immigration, the heartaches of her teenage years, and the Depression and War that loomed in the midst of her troubled childhood.

Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Street urchin and tosher boy Dodger acted on keen instinct when he saved a battered young woman from her assaulters on a stormy night. Yet this single act of decency will cost him his anonymity and immunity as he is caught in the midst of a violent political scheme, which bears great danger and thrilling adventure. Can he gather his wits and survive?

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

Following a violent coup incited by her murderous aunt Redd, Princess Alyss and her bodyguard desert a chaotic Wonderland through the Pool of Tears. But amidst the chaos they are separated, and Alyss finds herself lost and stranded in the Victorian London. Thirteen fateful years passed as royal escort Hatter Madigan searched in vain for Alyss.  But alas, he has a promising lead. Stumbling across a novel depicting Alyss' tumultuous past, Hatter must track down the aspiring author whom the princess had befriended and, upon doing so, disclosed her ambient tale -- Lewis Carroll.


"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.

"We have received a lot of great donations this month. There are several interesting titles in the categories of westerns, horror, film noir, analysis and criticism, and directors. Several of these we haven't seen before.

"Featured titles include Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo!, and two by David Thomson, The Big Screen and The New Biographical Dictionary of Film.

"In the section you will find (roughly from left to right as you face the African Queen): a small bookcase with modern culture, film writing, craft and movie business, TV, and guides; a tall bookcase with radio, 'films of' books, signed books, large format, foreign film, Hollywood and film history, film commentary and theory, director's corner, choice biographies/memoirs; a smaller bookcase with paperbacks, film tie-ins and scripts, and media and media studies." -Dick Grote


"New arrivals in May include the two volume set, The Theory of Communicative Action by Habermas, The Stone Reader by Catapano, The Philosophy Gym by Law, The Logic of Perception by Roberts, and My Age of Anxiety by Stossel. We also have a very unusual offering at $10, seven volumes of Histoire de la Philosophie in French." -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 - The Historical Performance of Music: An Introduction; 88 Keys - The Making of a Steinway Piano; How the Fender Bass Changed the World; The Art of Fugue: Bach Fugues for Keyboard, 1715-1750; Guitar: An American Life; All Ages: The Rise and Fall of Portland Punk Rock; On the Sensations of Tone; Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd.

"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 - Kosher Jesus; Yiddishland; Biblical Literacy by Telushkin; Maimonides: The Life and World of One of Civilization's Greatest Minds; Eros and the Jews: From Biblical Israel to Contemporary America; Black Bread: Poems, After the Holocaust; Maus; The Woman Who Laughed at God; Ellis Island to Ebbets Field: Sport and the American Jewish Experience.

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


"Do you want to plan something special for Mother's Day Sunday, May 13? Looking for some free outdoor activities? Go to for the latest docent led hikes and then visit the Nature section for a wildflower, native plant and/or bird guide to take with you. Featured in the 'Just In' section this month: Goat Story, Climate of Hope, Rightful Heritage, Of a Feather, Birds Art Life, Two in the Far North, and many more. The Nature Writers, Animal Stories and Climate/Ecology sections are packed with new titles this month as well. Come and browse!" -Karen D.

European Languages

"Lots of books in French, including Mitsou, histoire d'un chat (Rilke/Balthus). Lots of Hebrew CDs." -Susan Strain

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