Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

Saturday September 14
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 September 15
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Children's Room / Teaching Tools
Military History
Classics / Literature
High Value


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 September and October
The next closing that is on the event calendar as of this writing is Thanksgiving.

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.
To the very generous people who donate books - and more - And to people who are thinking of doing so:

YOU ARE THE LIFELINE OF FOPAL and you have our unending thanks: we wouldn't exist without you! But we have a big favor to ask:
  • Starting on the Friday before our sale, please hold donations until after our Saturday and Sunday sale days.
  • Books brought in before the sale may not make it onto the shelves that month. (If you wish to see them on display, plan accordingly)
  • No popular magazines, no National Geographic, no Gourmet, no Sunset.... FOPAL is phasing out accepting any periodicals.
Right before and during the sale, our Sorting Room (where books arrive) is filled as high as it's safe to stack them. We don't have room to sort - let alone store new donations. We make these requests in the interest of efficiency and the safety of our loyal volunteers. We are anxious never to turn away donations and will work to accommodate your travel and schedules.

Regular donation times are Monday through Saturday, 2 to 4 pm. If these hours won't work for you, volunteers are often available at other times to welcome you; please call us at 650-213-8755 to be sure someone will be there.

We can also schedule local pick-ups if you are unable to bring your donation to the Main Book Room (Marty's Room). Call 650-308-4933 and leave a message for our pick-up team.

Your treasures are our treasures AND ALL BENEFIT THE PALO ALTO LIBRARY. AGAIN, OUR WARMEST THANKS TO 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 September

Donations were especially strong since the last sale, creating back-stock from August and as a result, many section managers have already priced books for the October sale! This is especially true for the Military History section. Military History section manager Marlene Strauss has amassed and displayed two full bays of new books donated from a collector of World War I & World War II titles! Look for this special selection to your right as you enter the Main Room. The Children's Room shelves are sagging under the weight of all the books as well! This means a great selection for buyers; this September will be a super sizzling sale. For all the teachers out there, check out a substantial donation of teaching tool activity items recently donated from the Palo Alto Libraries most are new/never used!

For the upcoming September Sale, look for multiple treasures in our Classic Literature section. Many of these titles had been priced and held back in FOPAL back-stock storage for a sale this month. Also, this month it's a great time to keep in touch with political current affairs by choosing a read from our Political Science section. Look for the best works of political theory, comparative politics, international relations, public law, and political biographies and memoirs. FOPAL's new-ish section in the Main Room, High Value is located at the end of aisle 13 and continues to offer uniquely valuable books, sets, and other items. Look for a featured variety of High Value temptations each month uncovered in FOPAL's Annex storage rooms by FOPAL's past President Nigel Jones.

Children's Room

"This month we are bursting with books--and games, toys, DVDs, etc. In School-Age Fiction you'll find all the usual suspects (Junie B Jones, Captain Underpants, Magic Tree House); every book in the Harry Potter series; lots of other fantasy series (Rick Riordan, Erin Hunter); and sports-themed series including books by Kobe Bryant for young basketball hopefuls. Be sure to check out the popular authors on our mobile Fiction shelves.

"In Religion we have a good selection of books for the High Holidays. Our Giftables displays rival any local bookstore, but at bargain prices. In Activities there are Legos by the pound and an electric Lego train set; many brand-new Lakeshore Learning kits; books with ideas for science fair projects; math workbooks and math competition preparation books; games galore; and shelves stuffed with stuffed animals. For Disney collectors we offer a full box of Pluto memorabilia, including a Pluto telephone!" -Carolyn Davidson

Vintage Children's Books

"Girls' empowerment might seem like a very 21st century thing, but the 1930s to 1960s girl-centric series featuring Kay Tracey, the Dana Girls, Trixie Belden, Judy Bolton, Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames would lead you to think otherwise. You can find some of their stories in the Girls, Girls, Girls section of Vintage Children's Books this month. Also highlighted are Old Mother West Wind books written by Thornton Burgess where you can meet many of his characters like Peter Rabbit, Jimmy Skunk, Sammy Jay and other forest friends. Younger kids can browse a Tintin pop-up book, the Caldecott award winner Chanticleer the Fox and many volumes of Mother Goose.

"Also this month, buyers of both older and younger children's vintage books get first crack at some prime books that would normally be listed for sale on eBay or Amazon. Averaging in price around $20, these special volumes might just pique your interest, including a six-volume YA set of the Dragonlance Chronicles (like new!), Snoopy and the Red Baron, and a couple of first editions, among others. Of special interest might also be a 10-volume leather-bound Master Library (1927) of Bible stories. We're hoping to make this special "eBay section" a regular feature of our monthly sales but if you see something you like, buy it! Unlike other books, these eBay selections will be on the shelf for one sale only and if not bought, will then be listed for sale to the general public on eBay." -Lisa Heitman

Teen Recommendations by Jeff Wang

The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold (Vorkosigan Saga)

As he graduated from the imperial service academy of Barrayar, Miles desperately hoped to get ship duty, the most prestigious position that everyone sought: but instead, the talented Miles was assigned to be a weatherman. At an arctic infantry base. On an island in the middle of nowhere. The reason? He was deemed unable to follow orders, and so was sent there to learn how to respect his superiors, and only then could he receive the position he so desperately wanted. Needless to say, Miles was not pleased by his situation, which was only worsened when he arrived at his base and accidentally offended his superior, General Stanis Metzov. As time passed, Miles adapted to his new environment, and all seemed well: until one incident where Miles has to choose between risking lives by following the orders of his superior, or instead refuse the orders and give up all his chances of advancing his military career. Which choice will Miles choose?

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

One of the greatest pieces of American Literature ever written, The Great Gatsby takes place on long Island during the "roaring twenties", a period of great economic prosperity, and with the recent victory in WWI, a vision of hope for the future. The story is written from the perspective of Nick Caraway, a bond salesman who recently moved to the village of West Egg on Long Island in New York, and is the cousin of the extremely rich Daisy Buchanan living in the village of East Egg with her husband, Tom Buchanan. Nick lives right next door to the mansion of Gatsby, a mysterious millionaire who throws lavish parties, attracting the attention of all. When Nick goes to one of his parties, he soon finds out that Gatsby has long been in love with Daisy, ever since before the war, and is now attempting to win her back. What will happen next is some of the most tragic events in American classical literature....

1984 by George Orwell

In the year 1984, a shadow of totalitarianism looms over the world. In the country of Oceania, there is one and final authority: IngSoc, the one and only party of the government. In the capital city of Airstrip One, formerly known as London, everyone is under constant surveillance, with giant telescreens placed everywhere that can listen and watch every action taken. With this much monitoring, any resistance to the government will prove ultimately futile, and are quickly eliminated when discovered. But IngSoc is not satisfied with just that, and takes their tyrannical rule to the extreme: anything that may go against the party, even thoughts, is outlawed. If one is suspected to have commited "thoughtcrime", they would be quickly "unpersoned": not just killed, but completely erased from existence-- every record and proof of them ever existing is destroyed, and any mention of them by someone else is now also a thoughtcrime. For this to happen effectively, everyone in Oceania practices "doublethink", a form of cognitive dissonance where they simultaneously hold contradictory views, and is able to believe both of them. Winston Smith lives in Airstrip One, and works at a government ministry that falsify documents and records, and destroy real ones to match the official narrative. Because of the nature of his work, he begins to doubt the Party's control on the truth, and with this very notion, he has already doomed himself....

High Value Books and Collectibles

"FOPAL sells its highest value books online but we now have selected high value books at our monthly sales to give our patrons an opportunity to buy them, as well as rarities and unusual collectibles.

"This month's new arrivals are two classics of Western Americana, The Story of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 5 volumes, 1921, unmarked for $175; and Jewel City, Art From San Francisco's Panama-Pacific International Exposition, as new, $50. Additionally, we have Baudelaire's Flowers of Evil (Fleurs du Mal) with an excellent cover and illustrations, #229 of a set of 1,499, 1947 for $16.

"Also available: The Correspondence of Burke, 4 volumes, 1844, $115; in good condition, Works of Theodore Roosevelt, 1925, 20 volumes, $160 and The Lives of the Saints, 15 volumes, 1872, $250." -Nigel Jones

Russian Language

"Due to a generous large donation of really nice condition books this month, the whole section has been refreshed." -Edwin El-Kareh

Sheet Music

"Some not so common books on drumming, bass, vocal and scores have shown up this month, plenty of the usual instruments also." -Edwin El-Kareh


"Continued larger than normal selection of geology books. Lots of new math books, and the usual remaining subjects have the shelves stuffed and groaning." -Edwin El-Kareh


"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 - Willie Nelson - An Epic Life; What's That Sound?: An Introduction to Rock and Its History; All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release; Big Bangs: The Story of Five Discoveries that Changed Musical History; Tango Lessons: A Memoir; The Bakersfield Sound: How a Generation of Displaced Okies Revolutionized American Music; Leonard Cohen Old Ideas Tour 2012.

"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 including editions of the Torah, Kabbalah, Jewish history, the Holocaust, memoirs, Israel, Jewish Women, the Jewish American Experience and other related subjects.

"New this month - The Plot: The Secret Story of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion; Surviving Hitler: The Unlikely True Story of an SS Soldier and a Jewish Woman; Claiming My Place: Coming of Age in the Shadow of the Holocaust; Jerusalem : Holy Business as Usual; Shtetl: The Life and Death of a Small Town and the World of Polish Jews; The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB's: A Secret History of Jewish Punk.

"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


"New additions for September include: Doonesbury, The Weed Whisperer; Dante for Fun - HELL; Napoli, Sarcasm; You Can't Spell Truth Without Ruth; Baxter's A Blizzard of Tweed; succinct great books as in Twittterature, and the dark and disturbing Dawn of the Bunny Suicides.

"Also, we have six books by Wodehouse including for the first time the fascinating book Wodehouse at War, an apologia for his very ill advised Berlin broadcasts.

"As ever in the Bargain Room there is an excellent selection of additional humor and cartoon books." -Nigel Jones


"New additions for September include: Harris, Civilization and its Enemies; Brooks, The Second Mountain; Chalmers, Conscious Mind; Tart, Open Mind; Frazer, Voices of Time, the entertaining 30 Second Philosophies, Loewer, and for the first time an unusual picture book, The Good European - Nietzsche's Worksites. Both in our Main Room and Bargain Room you will find an assortment of books on Utopias and Utopian thought." -Nigel Jones


"The Computer Section has new subject labels that are easier to read. The idea is that you can scan a few, no more than 30, titles in your subject area of interest and maybe find a gem! Speaking of gems, this month, modestly hiding among 'Comp. Sci. & Algorithms' books, is an unsung classic, Jon Bentley's Programming Pearls. Will you be the one to buy it?" -David Cortesi


"Look for these nice Oxford tomes: The Oxford History of Christian Worship, The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, The New Oxford Annotated Bible.

"Then go to From the Psalms to the Cloud, Connecting to the Digital Dge, Almaas' The Inner Journey Home; several Augustine, Nouwen, Merton works." -Nancy Cohen


"I have an ABUNDANCE of books this month with 3 shelves each for ‘Popular on Amazon’ (including a section of popular workbooks) and ‘New Arrivals.’ There are multiple copies of some popular books, priced accordingly. Some featured books are: The Power of Time Perception; Am I There Yet?; How to Change Your Mind; The Soul of Discipline; Maybe You Should Talk to Someone; 365 Days with Self Discipline; The Art of Relevance; Brainstorm. The sub-sections of ‘Addiction’, ‘Emotions’ and ‘Happiness’ are unusually full. There is also a good selection of CDs. If you like Thich Nhat Hanh, as I do, you’ll find five of his books on the top shelf along with multiple copies of books by Don Miguel Ruiz that are popular on Amazon. Happy Browsing," -Marnie

Sets and Antiquarian Books

"The main new arrival in September is The Works of Balzac, La Comedie Humaine. Published in 1896 through 1899 this The Novelists Library Edition de Luxe with red cloth boards, set number 127 of a limited edition of 500 numbered sets. This collection has 37 of the 40-volume set and is $95. In terms of history we have the two-volume set Around the World with General Grant, 1879, $40, as well as the beautifully produced Printing with the Handpress, 1969, ex libris, $15.

"We still have a large collection of pre-1900 books and a selection from the 1920-1950 era. Whether it's the pleasure of owning a vintage book and reading it or appreciating the art of the book in terms of its cover design and illustrations they are a wonderful addition to your library.

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

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.