Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

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

Sunday April 14
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Historical Fiction
Puzzles & Games
(signed baseballs)
Children's Room
New High Value
Children's LPs


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 April and May
All library locations will be closed on Sunday, 21 April for their Spring Day holiday. Regular hours will resume on Monday, 22 April 2019.

All library locations will be closed on Monday, 27 May for the Memorial Day holiday. Regular hours will resume on Tuesday, 28 May 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.
True in 2004 and Still True in 2019
"It's truly surprising how many valuable books are donated to FOPAL" -Marty Paddock, 2004.

This is still true in 2019! 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 '19?

Historical Fiction, specifically novels about the military adventure, is one of our featured specials this month. Look for a highlighted subsection in Historical Fiction for this special collection. Check out the display of San Francisco Giants World Series 2012 signed baseballs, donated recently; these are priced individually and located in the Puzzles & Games area. For April in FOPAL's Children's Room, you'll see a nice selection of Spring themed books as well as a new offering of handpicked Children's records each priced at a mere $1.50! A new section for FOPAL's Main Room is High Value. Located at the end of aisle 13 this very special section will feature a variety of items each month uncovered in our Annex storage area by FOPAL's past president Nigel Jones.

Sections on the move- Every so often we move sections giving more or less space to an area, look for these changes to the Main Room, Law has moved next to Gardening, leaving an additional bay for Business. Computers has added a new bay and moved down into the SW corner. This resulted in losing both a Fiction and a Young Adult Fiction bay. Poetry has downsized to one bay and now is located next to Classics while Essays & Short Stories moves into its old space. Asian Languages and Asian DVD bays are now back to back taking one bay from Mysteries. Judaica’s two bays are now next to each other with a new High Value section moving into its old spot next to Education & Language. Eastern Religion gained a bay moving New Age across the aisle.

Historical Fiction

"MILITARY ADVENTURE THRILLERS—not quite a mystery thriller, not quite science fiction, not quite historical fiction but sort of a blend of all three. We've received a sizable donation of these books all in pristine condition. You will find them in the center section of Historical Fiction. This is a one time unique opportunity to snap up these books by authors such as Dale Brown and Steve Coonts. Each book is priced at two dollars. Historical Fiction has lots of other 'adventure and historical thriller' books this month by authors such as Bernard Cornwall, C.S. Forester, Patrick O’Brian, as well as a great selection of Alan Furst espionage novels. For more traditional historical fiction our shelves of books set in England are overflowing including many books by Philippa Gregory." -Marian Urman

Children's Room

"Look just inside the door for dozens of delightful holiday books for Passover, Easter, and Mother's Day. Also this month, our shelves of beginning readers, DVDs, and Klutz books are especially full. And as always, we have a bountiful assortment of like-new picture books that make great gifts for any occasion.

"Young Adult books have been moved from the Main Room to the Children's Room, where you will find YA titles from now on. For example, we have books by John Green (Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines); Markus Zusak (The Book Thief); Suzanne Collins (the Hunger Games series); Jesse Andrews (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl); Jay Asher (13 Reasons Why); Gregory Maguire (the Wicked series); and many more. Movies have been made of many of these--and the books are even better than the movies!

"We are loaded with Harry Potters, including the early titles in case you are just beginning the journey. Rick Riordan's multiple series of fantasy titles are also well stocked on our shelves. Readers 8 to 12 may enjoy our books by P.J. Palacio (the Wonder series)." -Carolyn Davidson

Vintage Children's

"Lots of classic fiction for the older kids. And for younger ones we are overflowing in lovely old picture books." -Nancy Cohen

Teen Reviews by Jeff Wang

The Martian by Andy Weir

After strong storms forces the Ares 3 expedition off of Mars, only one member of the crew is left behind: Mark Watney. Now, the Engineer/Botanist, who is presumed to be dead, must live on the red planet for four years until the Ares 4 crew arrives, while dealing with the issues of food, water, and the possibility to be sucked into the vacuum of space if he makes one single mistake-all without any contact with Earth. Will Mark be able to come back safely, or will he live the last of his days trapped on a foreign planet?

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell explores how certain exceptional individuals, which he calls “outliers”, are able to achieve their success. Looking at the Beatles, Bill Gates, Robert Oppenheimer, and other famous examples, Gladwell finds something in common with all of them: to achieve extraordinary success in their particular area, they spend 10 thousand hours doing it--the equivalent of slightly more than 10 years. But he also finds out that there was more factors that lead to success than just pure effort: even something as unremarkable as the month a person was born can be a huge factor in determining the outcome of their career. By reading Outliers, one will gain a more nuanced perspective on how successful individuals reach the positions they are in, and hopefully, a more comprehensive view of the world.

Short Story- Flowers for Algernon Flowers of Algernon is written from the perspective of Charlie Gordon, an intellectually disabled man. At his job working as a janitor for a company run by Mr. Donnegan, he is constantly ridiculed by his coworkers, who he considers to be his "friends", for his disability, but he is only faintly aware of this. However, because of this feeling of inferiority, he has a motivation to become smarter, so one day when he was offered an experimental operation to make him smarter, he immediately jumps at the opportunity and undergoes the operation. As his intelligence increases, the way Charlie interacts with others, the way other treat him, and even the way he regards himself changes very dramatically...

High Value Books and Collectibles

"FOPAL sells it highest value books online but we are going to have selected high value books at our monthly sales to give our sales patrons an opportunity to buy them. This is the first month of the program and book included are: the three volume, The History of San Francisco, 1931, $70; the two volume Around the World with General Grant, 1879, $80; the signed first edition Vonnegut, Fates Worse Than Death, $80; The Ring, a record book of boxing, signed by Sugar Ray Leonard, $75; Alan Paton, Knocking on the Door, with two letters from Paton, one signed by Paton, $35; the classic UK children's book The Beano Annual 1952, $60; and Hen Sparrow, a wonderful concertina book, $40. We also have three non-book collectibles: Caprano's statue The Dancer for $35, the unique 16 Fish, a resin puzzle by renowned Italian designer Enzo Mari, 1974, $150; and equally unique The World's First Rolling Stones CD Shaped Like Mick Jagger’s Head, only 2,500 produced, undated, presumably the 1960s, every true Stones fan has to have it - $15." -Nigel Jones

Children's LPs

"One box of curated children's records for sale in the Children's Room, priced at $1.50/ea. Look for it near the vintage books nearest the cashiers." -Frank McConnell


"Are you looking forward to seeing the Superblooms of Bay Area wildflowers this month? Go to and for the best places to view them, and pick up wildflower and hiking guides from the Nature section to make the experience even more fun! Our shelves are overflowing with great books this month: Planet Walker, You Had Me at Woof, The Shepherd's Life, The Secret Life of Flies, Illustrated Birds of North America Folio Ed., The Intimate Bond, etc. Interested in 'rockhounding'? We have eleven books on rocks and minerals this month at great FOPAL prices. Are you an ephemera collector, artist or lover of old books with great images? Visit the Vintage Collectables shelves (in Nature) for some amazing finds." -Karen D.

Science Fiction and Fantasy

"In Science Fiction and Fantasy we have some very recent books by Neil Gaiman, Ann Leckie, and Ada Palmer; some editions from specialty publishers like Golden Gryphon and Advent; and a shelf of issues of Worlds of IF magazine from the '50s to the '70s, including the original serialization of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

"Featured this month: several Hugo Award finalists for this year and last." -Rich McAllister


"New this month:
Illuminating the Word, a description with pictures of how the St John's Bible was entirely written and illustrated by hand.
Karl Barth's How to Serve God in a Marxist Land.
John Cobb's Jesus' ABBA.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer Theologian of Reality by Andre Dumas.
Volume 1 of Samuel Hugh Moffett's History of Christianity in Asia.
The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, The Book of Joy." -Nancy Cohen

Framed Art

"Yay, Framed Art is back for the FOPAL April sale! Look for many nice pieces we priced to move and one exceptional signed oil portrait priced at $200. There are well over 100 pieces at great prices and maybe some hidden gems. Actually, the number is closer to 200!" -Carolyn S.


"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 - There are still a few haggadot on the shelves. Other new books are When General Grant Expelled the Jews; Exodus 1947: The Ship that Launched a Nation; Algeria Hotel: France, Memory, and the Second World War; Black White and Jewish; 920 O'Farrell Street.

"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

Music Books

"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 - Kurt Cobain Notebooks; 101 Microlezioni di Jazz (most of the quotes are in English); Mozart in the Jungle; Pianism; Beethoven in China; Best-Selling Albums of All Time; The Autobiography of Gucci Mane; No Fixed Points: Dance in the Twentieth Century; Taylor Guitars: 30 Years of a New American Classic.

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

Special Vinyl Sale coming May 11

"Save the date for a special vinyl sale event May 11 at Cubberley Community Center. FOPAL co-presenting with KFJC 89.7 FM. Jazz, rock, new wave, funk, soul, reggae, classical, and all other genres. Bargains and rarities. Saturday May 11, same day as FOPAL's May sale, but Saturday only." -Frank McConnell

Audio Books

"Books on CD are next to the movie DVDs. It's a small section but packed with wonderful books on a variety of topics. If you would rather listen than read, check out this section. We have many new CDs and older ones that have been repriced to sell. Check it out. Just three shelves of great listening." -Mary DeMasters


"The Reference section features, in like-new condition: seven Library Science textbooks, plus two attractively-priced coffee table books: Century (dated photos from the 20th) at $3, and The Great Book of World War II Airplanes at $6.  While you're there, buy an atlas!" -Bruce Heflinger


"Please don’t miss our Sets section this month. In the spirit of spring cleaning we’ve drastically reduced some of our set prices. We have a small but interesting collection of books about Japanese-Americans including Morning Glory, Evening Shadow in our US History area. In the 20th century bay of US History on the bottom shelf we have a number of books about President Herbert Hoover. We also have books about James A. Garfield and Warren G. Harding. We infrequently receive books about these presidents. Learn about another lesser known President, James K. Polk in the book, The Wicked War and the tremendous impact of the U.S.-Mexican War which he instigated. Our Asia section has a nice collection of books about Japan. Our China section is overflowing. The Historiography section has one of the best and largest selections that we’ve had for months. (Bottom shelf of the Asia bay)." -Suzanne Little and Irina Cross


"Besides all the usual suspects we have four excellent coffee table style books available this month, The Complete New Yorker Book of Cartoons, with CDs, The New Yorker Book of Dogs, 20 Years of Dilbert, and a first for us, the really impressive The Complete Comics, by Brian Walker." -Nigel Jones


"FOPAL received an abundance of special art books and prints. There are new books on Impressionism, American modern artists, drawing and painting how to books. We expanded the 'collectible' print section. The value of the items are significant and they are available at low FOPAL prices. The items include vintage prints of St. Marina the great, Currier and Ives hand painted lithograph and M. Bernard Loates floral prints. Other wonderful items include a set of Vietnamese silk prints, Chinese floral silk prints, Hokasai boy on Mount Fuji and a great Utamaro geisha print. There are also great vintage giclee prints of various landscapes and birds." -Andrea Lozano


"Doctors, Diets and Diabetes sections are fertile and dominate our shelves this April: we have a radiantly blooming supply of recent best-selling books by Doctors: (Gawande, Kalanithi, Groopman, Sacks, and others, some of which we have been scarce for ages). Diets may seem like weeds, often unwelcome, but promising healthy and beautiful results. Diabetes, though like gardening requires a lot of work and determination. With recent Diabetes research, management and advances in treatment and technology, this is a growing and exciting field of medicine. April has also brought us a large crop of new, valuable, inexpensive and attractive books." -Verne Rice


"New additions to Sets includes, the impressive ten volume Works of Shakespeare, 1,000 copies only, 1904, $70; the three volume Seven Great Monarchies, Rawlinson, c1870, $45; the ten volume Works of Thackeray, 1878, $30; the eight volume Great American Lawyers, 1907, # 751 of a set of 1,000, $75. New titles also include The Works of Tennyson, 1878, $30; 1,000 California Place Names – The Gold Rush Edition, 1949, $8, and various novels from Victor Hugo's 1862 Valjean Edition. There are also 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

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