Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

Saturday January 12
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 January 13
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Large Format


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 January and February
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.

All library locations will be closed on Monday, 18 February for President's Day. Regular hours will resume on Tuesday, 19 February 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.

A New Year Brings Some Changes in Book Sale

The success of the Book Sale continues. Our outdoor Ephemera and Tent Sale have been popular with regulars and introduced us to some of our neighbors who didn't even know who we were! The outdoor sales are a permanent Book Sale fixture unless bad weather prevents it, this looks to be the case with rain on the forecast for Sunday.

Look for the Tent Sale red carts inside the Main Room, 1/13/19.

Hoping to donate paper bags? We're now asking you to reuse these instead of donating them. FOPAL receives plenty of bags with book donations and strains to find space to store bags of bags.

For a list of what FOPAL gladly accepts and what we can't take please refer to

General guideline: if you wouldn’t give it to a friend please don't give it to the "Friends".

A reminder, please bring all donations to: FOPAL Main Book Sale Room, Cubberley Community Center, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto (rear of campus, north entrance, next to the tennis courts) Monday - Saturday, 2-4pm, EXCEPT during our monthly sales on the second Saturday of the month and Friday, the day before the sale.


"January is a great time to explore the Bay Area, but perhaps an even better time to explore a cup of hot chocolate and a great (bargain) book or two. For outdoor fun, we have shelves of like-new Audubon Field guides, trail guides, and books to help you identify any local plant, animal or insect you may find. Mushroom hunters will find great resources as well.

"Just-in for the couch crowd: Where the Wild Things Are, The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs, Requiem for a Species, Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed, Grandma Gatewood's Walk, City Chicks, and hundreds more." -Karen D.

Large Format

"No coffee table is really complete without a coffee-table book or two. Designed for display, these typically oversize tomes are the perfect showcases for gorgeous photography. You'll find a new selection of large format books in the two specials bays to your right as you enter just outside the sorting room. These are priced 50% or less than the lowest online asking price ranging from $4 to $40. Examples include titles like The Love of Baby Animals, to the 25th Anniversary Edition Markets in Motion, The People of Burning Man and Shape of Things to Come - New Sculpture.

"The small special bay by DVDs near the check-out line features large-format Military History. Whether you're looking for an intriguing coffee-table book to occupy your guests or searching for inspiration for your next conversation, these offerings are sure to fit the bill - and look terrific on your table while doing so." -Janette  


"Books on CD are next to the movie DVDs. It's a small section but packed with wonderful books, on a variety of subjects from self help, comedy, classic novels, and current novels. If you would rather listen than read, check out this section. We have three novels by Jhumpa Lahiri, a CD by Anthony Bourdain, old radio broadcasts, Ken Follett, Michael Crichton, Tom Clancy, and Ann Cleeves, too many novels to mention. Don't forget to check it out. Just three shelves going fast!" -Mary DeMasters

Historical Fiction

"We have lots of historical thrillers and sea stories. Alan Furst, Bernard Cornwell, Fredrick Forsythe are among the authors. Also plenty of books on the World Wars and Civil Wars." -Marian Urman


"The Movies/Entertainment section is in the north/west corner of the book room. It is always easy to find: the African Queen is hanging overhead.

"Our shelves are really full this month. We have the all time largest set of film analysis and criticism books. The foreign film, directors' corner (actually this month a shelf), Hollywood and film history, and large format sections have many books we don't often see. Finally there are several interesting bios/memoirs including multiple Bogie and Penny Marshall.

"It's a good month -- come by and read a movie." -Dick Grote

Children's Room

"Our World Languages section has something for almost everyone. We have books in all the following languages this month: Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Korean, Japanese, Farsi, Arabic, Spanish, French, Hebrew, Dutch, Russian, German, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, and Danish. Often we can add Vietnamese, Czech, and other languages to the list, depending on donations. If you want to introduce a child to books in a language other than English, check us out.

"Our shelves are full of books for beginning readers through high school age. This month there's a fine selection of the series Ivy and Bean, and our Harry Potter shelves have been replenished, including copies of the earlier books in the series that have been harder to find." -Carolyn Davidson

Teen Reviews by Jeff Wang

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl, despite being only 12 years old, is the leader of his family's criminal empire, which he inherited from the death of his father, an event that weakened the syndicate and also left Artemis's mother insane. To restore his family's former glory, Artemis, with extensive research, discovered a powerful secret -- the existence of Fairies and Magic, hidden deep within the surface of the Earth. To further his goals, he captures a elf, Captain Holly Shorts, incurring the wrath of the Lower Elements Police, which is now sending attacks against Fowl Manor. Will Artemis be able to restore his family's past, all while surviving the Magic of the Fairies?

The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold

Miles Vorkosigan is a member of the Vor aristocracy on Barrayar, a backwater planet in the Galactic Nexus. He would have had a bright future on Barrayar, being son of the Prime Minister Aral Vorkosigan, former Regent of Barrayar, had it not been for a assassination attempt on his Father with solotoxin gas, which affected his then pregnant mother that resulted in the crippling of Miles' skeletal structure, which lead to his legs and overall skeleton being brittle and deformed, a major disadvantage in mutation-fearing Barrayar. Despite failing his physical tests for the Imperial Service Academy, Miles leaves Barrayar to pursue his military career, albeit in a very different direction than what he could have ever expected....

Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

Ever wondered why teachers and sumo wrestlers cheat? Ever wondered if there are similarities between real estate agents and the Ku Klux Klan? In Freakonomics, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner explains these correlations by exploring the world of Microeconomics, or put simply, the study of incentives. With these entertaining explanations and many others throughout the book, the authors show an interesting -- and rarely discussed, view of the world.

Science Fiction and Fantasy

"Science Fiction and Fantasy this month has a huge selection of paperback science fiction, mostly from the '60s through '80s. Bring your want lists, many of these are rarely seen -- more Mack Reynolds than I knew existed. Also we have a nicely illustrated volume of Arthur C. Clarke's 1986 predictions of the world of 'July 20, 2019.' Only six months left -- get 'em before they go out of date!" -Rich McAllister


"It may be cold, wet, and dreary in early January, but it's not too soon to start dreaming of that edible garden you could soon create on a sunny plot in your yard or in a pot on the patio. This month the Gardening section has a bumper crop of guides on successfully growing vegetables and fruit. Full of step-by-step instructions and inspiring photos are such volumes as Eat Your Yard!, Grow Your Own Food, The Heirloom Life Garden, Kitchen Gardens of France, plus Carrots Love Tomatoes (all about companion planting. But if you'd rather just grow somethng easy, attractive, and non-edible in pots, don't miss Succulent Container Gardens and The Art of Gardening in Pots." -Ann Justice


"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 - Under the Vine and the Fig Tree: The Jews of the Napa Valley; American Synagogues: A Century of Architecture and Jewish Community; Rashi's Torah Commentary; ReVisions: Seeing Torah through a Feminist Lens; Wrestling with Angels; Pray Ball! The Spiritual Insights of a Jewish Sports Fan; The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey: A Graphic Novel; The Story of the Jews Volume Two: Belonging: 1492-1900.

"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


"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 - The Registration of Baroque Organ Music; It's Not Only Rock & Roll: Popular Music in the Lives of Adolescents; Sing for Your Life; Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory; Weather Bird: Jazz at the Dawn of Its Second Century; Here She Comes Now; The First Four Notes: Beethoven's Fifth and the Human Imagination; The Joffrey Ballet School's Ballet-Fit.

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


"I've received a larger-than-usual selection of books from 2018 and 2017, many very popular on Amazon; they’re placed (spine out) on the top shelves. Other Featured Books are: Change Your Questions Change Your Life; Spy the Lie; In an Unspoken Voice; Verbal Judo; Paths Along the Incest Trail; The Primal Wound; Thanks; Outsmarting Yourself; Wired for Love; Falling into Grace; and Ego is the Enemy. For Valentine's day see the 'Love' subsection and potential gifts from 'Little Books' section. The 'Mind-Brain' and 'Addiction' sections are larger than usual. The 'Family/Parenting Teens' section is large now but I probably won't continue to have one if the books don't sell. Enjoy browsing and may 2019 bring more Peace and Joy to All Beings!" -Marnie

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