Friends of the Palo Alto Library Edjoo and Kate Visit our web site 

Saturday January 11
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 12
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Children's Room
Bargain Room


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 all day Monday, 20 January 2020, for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. They will all reopen Tuesday, 21 January 2020.

All library locations will be closed all day Monday, 17 February 2020, for the President's Day Holiday. They will all reopen Tuesday, 18 February 2020.

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 2020
"It's truly surprising how many valuable books are donated to FOPAL" -Marty Paddock, 2004.

This is still true in 2020! 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 New in January

Did your New Year's resolutions include getting physically and emotionally healthy? Check out the current selection in the Psychology/Self-Help section, for your motivational reads for 2020. Looking to improve your creative skills this year? Check out the Art section for a vast selection of how to books in the studio art subsection. There is something for every skill level and in most fine art mediums. Medicine received a large donation earlier in the month, giving its section a wide selection of new offerings. A fine donation of children's books, games, puzzles and stuffed animals has the shelves in the Children's Room fully stocked with more available in the Children's Bargain Room/H2. We have had many customers asking about book sets. This month, thanks to all our generous donors, we have these "book sets" priced and shelved ready to move. Sets are located next to Mysteries. Look for even more Sets in the Bargain Room as the Sets section manager needed to let go of several nice book Sets as the Main Room section is overflowing. Finally, it looks like the weather will cooperate this weekend and we'll have our freshly curated Framed Art sale gallery up and running if the forecast holds true.

Children's Room

"The display table inside our door features books that celebrate Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year. Check it out; you're sure to find something that will appeal to young readers. We're also flush with stuffed animals for both holidays.

"The graphic novels shelves are brimming with titles for kids of all ages. On the science/math table are many books with ideas for intriguing science experiments. Our selection of board books is particularly good this month, with some wonderful pop-up books as well.

"School-age Fiction boasts some unusually attractive books this month, starting with a gift-quality edition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets illustrated in brilliant color by celebrated artist Jim Kay. In the Young Adult/Teen section you'll find Dear Evan Hansen, the novel that's the basis for the Tony Award-winning play. There's also a three-book set of Marie Lu's dystopian series, Legend, Prodigy, and Champion, including special bonus content; and two award winners by John Green that have been made into TV shows and films: Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars. In the American Girl section you'll find three beautiful six-volume sets. Finally, in the Award Winners section, we have Jacqueline Woodson's acclaimed book Brown Girl Dreaming, and two gift-quality books from Caldecott winner Brian Selznick: Wonder Struck and The Marvels." -Carolyn Davidson

Vintage Children's Books

"The January vintage children's collection offers many Albert Payson Terhune books about dogs in bee-yoo-ti-ful dust covers, as well as an entire shelf of Windemere and Windemere-like books with lovely cover pastedowns. Tom Swift and Louisa May Alcott also feature heavily. Little kids are treated to an entire collection of books about trains/planes/ships and some old-timey collectibles, as well as many new 'small' and 'golden' books. We even have a copy of Outside Over There signed by the author, Maurice Sendak. January is a goo1d month to read!" -Lisa Heitman

Teen Recommendations by Jeff Wang

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard Feynman

When describing Richard Feynman’s life, the only word one cannot use is boring. In the autobiography written by the 1965 Nobel Prize winner, Richard Feynman begins with tales of fixing radios as a young boy, working at his aunt's hotel as a teenager, and learning to be social after joining a fraternity as an undergraduate at MIT. But soon the stories take a turn to the bizarre: analyzing and experimenting with his own dreams, breaking into top-secret safes that contained plans for the atomic bomb while working at Los Alamos, playing the samba during the Rio de Janeiro carnival, preparing lectures at strip clubs as a Caltech professor, and so much more strange yet enchanting anecdotes. With his distinctive attitude towards the world, Richard Feynman's autobiography is lighthearted read for entertainment and learning some important lessons about the world.

Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy: Death's End by Cixin Liu

With the Trisolaran invasion single-handedly stopped by the brilliant deterrent of mutually-assured destruction orchestrated by Luo Ji, an uneasy peace fell among the two civilizations. Without the interference of Trisolaran sophons and the introduction of advanced technology, Earth now enters an age of unprecedented prosperity -- but this would eventually lead to humanity becoming complacent, something that they will pay a dear price for. As Cheng Xin -- a human from long ago in the past -- wins the election to become the new sword-holder, the only person responsible for retaliation in case the Trisolarans strike, everyone's worst fears are soon realized.... Will humanity survive beyond the stars, or die in the confines of the earth?

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

The end is nigh. Having returned to the mortal realm from the depths of Tartarus, the titan lord Kronos is now about to complete his revenge against the Gods -- by launching a full scale assault on Mt. Olympus. In the meantime, Percy Jackson finally reads the "Great Prophecy" that predicted the victory or defeat of the gods when he turns sixteen in just a few days, and is distraught when it is revealed that he is doomed to die. With both everything and nothing to lose now, Percy takes upon the blessing -- and curse -- of Achilles, and leads the other demigods at Camp Half-Blood for a final stand against Kronos' army of titans and monsters. Will they emerge victorious? If so, at what cost?

Military History

"Barred from military combat until relatively recently, many women have instead made their mark in espionage, where they have excelled. As spies, women have shown courage, ingenuity and intelligence behind enemy lines. Perhaps the greatest female spy of all time is Virginia Hall, whose fascinating story is the subject of two current bestsellers and one upcoming major motion picture. During our January sale, we are highlighting both bestsellers: Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell and The Wolves at the Door by Judith L. Pearson." -Marlene Strauss


"The Computer section still features half a shelf of books about compilers (including at least one copy of the famous "Dragon Book") and lots of books about computer math and hardware. Computer books in the Main Room are chosen for relevance to modern systems, but if you want a book about Windows XP, Mac OS Leopard, or any other software of the 90s and the Oughts, be sure to visit the Bargain Room where there are many." -David Cortesi

Classic and Modern Literature

"FOPAL received an enormous donation of various editions of Herman Melville's Moby Dick and related materials. We will have four shelves of this material for sale in January: one shelf of the best editions from the donation and three shelves displaying a wide range of materials relating to Moby Dick, including books on Melville and the whaling industry, a catalogue of whaling equipment, transcripts of plays based on Billy Budd and Moby Dick, literary criticism and instruction booklets, and a beautifully illustrated edition of the novel. There are a few copies of translations of Moby Dick in the European Languages section of the Main Room." -Melinda Parry


"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 - Backstreets: Springsteen: The Man and His Music; Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads; Monk Dancers of Tibet; Drive Dull Care Away: Folksongs from Prince Edward Island; Symphony for the City of the Dead; Serving the Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain; Sound Play: Video Games and the Musical Imagination.

"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 - Jews, Slaves, and the Slave Trade: Setting the Record Straight; If All the Seas Were Ink: A Memoir; A Polish Doctor in the Nazi Camps: My Mother's Memories of Imprisonment, Immigration, and a Life Remade; Will to Freedom: A Perilous Journey Through Fascism and Communism; A Bride for One Night: Talmud Tales.

"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

Historical Fiction

"Historical Fiction is packed with many new titles this month. We are having a special on books about Korea including Korean immigrants to the United States. Although most of the books are fiction there are a few memoirs as well as a travel book by Isabella Bird. We've also included one children's book, A Single Shard, that tells about the origin of celadon ceramics. It is very unusual for us to get this many books on Korea so we hope you enjoy this collection. The special is located in the center section of Historical Fiction." -The Historical Fiction Team


"New additions to look out for in January are: Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, Cohen-Salal's biography of Sartre, Spector's Denialism, Harris's The End of Faith and Out of Step, signed by Hook. We have a big selection of books related to consciousness, morality and ethics, as well as some very good reference books. We also have eight volumes of Paul Strathern's very popular 90 Minute series ranging from Socrates to Derrida." -Nigel Jones


"We have quite a few classics available this month. These include: Amphigorey Too by Gorey, Lear's Book of Nonsense, three collections by Addams, two books each by Wodehouse, Waugh and Eric Idle and a very well-produced book by San Francisco's own Herb Caen. As a result of large donations there are new books on every shelf." -Nigel Jones

High Value Books

"FOPAL is attending the San Francisco Antiquarian Book Print & Paper Fair, which will be held at:
South San Francisco Conference Center
255 S Airport Blvd.
South San Francisco, CA 94080
Friday, Jan. 31, 10am-7pm
Saturday, Feb. 1, 10am-5pm

...and will have a booth for High Value books and a booth for Ephemera. All FOPAL members can enter free." -Nigel Jones


"There is an 8-volume set of Chafer's Systematic Theology, 1953, for the low price of $40." -Nancy Mahoney Cohen

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