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

Saturday August 13
Bargain Room 9:30am - 4pm
Children's Room 10am - 4pm
Main Room Sale 11am - 4pm

Sunday August 14
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


TV & Entertainment


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, DVDs, &c

Marty's (Main) Room
In our Main Room, prices are way below what used book stores charge. Hardcover books start at $3.00 and softcover books start at only $2.00.

No numbered tickets this month! (Another reminder that yes, we are still in a pandemic!)

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 next to the soccer field near Greendell School. 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 records, CDs, and DVDs 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 $3/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.)

News from the Library, by E-mail and RSS

The Library would like you to know that this year's Summer Reading Program is wrapping up, and you can read their latest newsletter here.

If you have ever given the Library your e-mail address, like this newsletter editor did when he signed up for a Palo Alto Library card, you have probably noticed that they are sending you one to a few e-mails per month since the start of the pandemic.

If you haven't been getting these e-mails, and are curious, there's an archive of them here. This archive page also has a "join our mailing list" link.

If you prefer this sort of thing in your RSS reader instead of your e-mail, you can get the RSS feed here. (This may open in your RSS reader instead of in your browser.)

The Library has a blog too! You can look at that here and it's got an RSS feed here.

The City may also be sending you "Uplift Local" e-mails once a week or so. There is an archive of those e-mails here.

And if like yr hmbl newsletter editor you have not been paying attention and are wondering what is open and how much the Library has a Current Library Services page.

August Sale Highlights

Donations were especially strong since the last sale, and considering we had an extra week between sales, our shelves are sagging under the weight of all the books. This means a super selection for buyers; August will be a great sale! The History section has extended and expanded its special on China and being offered in the now larger Specials Area just to your right as you enter the Main Room. The Health and Medicine sections have been fully refreshed and are jammed with great books in all categories. As a result of new section manager for Medicine, retired MD Pamela P. and the generous donations, you'll see many books, on more subjects and all easier to locate. Sharing the same aisle, the featured TV & Entertainment section has moved over to make space for the growing Asian Language section. Just around the corner you'll find the Music section has expanded as well, so much so that the Sheet Music has been relocated to below Science & Technology. Also, featured this month is a larger than usual collection of Gardening books. Look for nearly new copies of books or drought-tolerate landscaping.

Not able to make it to the monthly sale? Check out FOPAL's offering on e-Bay or shop one of FOPAL's Palo Alto Library's Book Stores or Gondolas during libraries' open hours.

Featured This Month in History

This month we are again featuring the history of China, from early times to the present. There are over 130 books, located on the shelves near the front door. We also have a special section on geography, featuring books on maps, exploration, and some famous cities and other locations.

In the main history section, we have about 1200 books covering a wide range of topics, from ancient Greece to contemporary Latin America. This month's African-American history section has books ranging from an 1854 abolitionist volume - Despotism in America: an inquiry into the nature, results, and legal basis of the slave-holding system in the United States (it's not in great shape, but it is almost 160 years old!) to a very nice copy of The 1619 Project. We have many Pulitzer Prize winning books on the shelves, including this year's winner, Cuba: An American History by Ada Ferrer. The selection of books on general American history covers the political spectrum from Howard Zinn to William Bennett.

On the other side of the globe, we have wide coverage of Japanese and Indian history, as well as European. If you're interested in how history is written, A History of Histories by John Burrows is new this month.

Be sure to check out the red carts in the history section. These have illustrated books on various topics as well as larger volumes. They also have some lighter works - Canadian History for Dummies, anyone?

-Lin McAllister

Health and Medicine

Walk in the front door and turn to the left: Health and Medicine have been reorganized, recombined, and rejuvenated!

The Medicine books are now organized by genre/subject so it will be easier to find what you may be looking for or just to peruse all of the section.

Want to think less about Covid? There are over a dozen books on Mad Cow Disease to entertain and educate you.

Lots of books by our favorite authors such as Oliver Sacks, Jerome Groopman, and Atul Gawande who offer the opportunity to learn while reading well written books.

And then there is the opportunity to relax with the Yoga books on the red cart.

-Susan Light


This month the Gardening section is replete with numerous current, lavishly illustrated books on a very timely subject: dry gardening, xeriscaping, drought-tolerant landscaping, or in other words how to surround your home with an attractive landscape when you don't have much water and are very likely going to have even less! Here are some of the titles available: Dry Gardening: Sustainable Drought-Proof Gardening from the Soil Up, California Native Plants for the Garden, Reimagining the California Lawn, Hot Color, Dry Garden: Inspiring Designs and Vibrant Plants for the Waterwise Garden, and the comprehensive East Bay MUD publication Plants and Landscapes for Summer-Dry Climates of the San Francisco Bay Region. Also, take a look at Betsy Clebsch's A Book of Salvias (btw, Betsy designed the salvia garden at the Gamble Garden). And for some luscious and inspiring eye-candy, don't miss Sun-Drenched Gardens: The Mediterranean Style.

-Ann Justice

Sheet Music

Yr hmbl newsletter editor got to this point and wondered where is the text for Sheet Music. Couldn't find it in his e-mail.

So there are no words, but there are shelf pictures, covering Sheet Music, Science, Poetry, and Postcards.

-Frank McConnell

Puzzles & Games

This month Puzzles and Games is featuring a bargain sale. In a bookcase near the main room entrance are shelves of puzzles all priced at $1 and games all reduced to under $5. But, there's more... lots of new puzzles and high end and family favorite games in their regular place.

-Vicky Evans


In Poetry, find a small but mighty selection of works dealing with that old, old lie: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. On a happier note, leaf through books of nonsense and light verse. Finally, have a go at one of the many biographies of famous verse makers.

-Mandy MacCalla


Comprehensive and fascinating Beatles Anthology at a bargain (!) price and a great new book about Paul McCartney. Also: Elton John Bio, David Byrne (Talking Heads) art volume, and a book about conducting an orchestra.

-George Chaltas


Beautiful large format books of South American national parks, exquisite volumes shot by professional photographers for National Geographic. There is also a very fun book of photographs taken on the surface of Mars by rovers. I would like to encourage our readers to spend more time in the Monographs shelves, as there are many, many brilliant photo essays worth taking a longer look at.

-George Chaltas

Children's Room

Our shelves are bursting this month, thanks to our donors. Here's some of what you'll find at the August sale. In the Asian Languages section, we have many high-quality non-fiction, picture, and chapter books in Japanese; a set of folk tales from around the world in Korean; activity, picture, and educational books and DVDs in Chinese; and a generous selection of books in Hindi. Look in School-age Fiction for exceptional, beautifully illustrated, gift-quality Harry Potter books; and shelves full of early chapter books to get youngsters reading. Our Non-fiction section offers a good selection of like-new National Geographic special photographic reports, along with many Lego books with great ideas for building. Look in the Activities sections for shelves full of games; math texts and workbooks; graphic novels galore (think Big Nate, Amulet, Captain Underpants, Calvin & Hobbes, etc.); and some terrific K'Nex building kits (a complete amusement park!).

-Carolyn Davidson

Teen Book Reviews

Hello friends! My name is Hannah Miradi, and I'll be giving these teen reviews for books in the children's room every month. For our first reviews, I thought I'd start with some of my childhood favorites so that you all could get to know me better. I plan on having a little theme for each newsletter. This month's theme is Personal Favorites! Tune in next month to see my recommendations for some book series!

1. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

I was introduced to Spinelli's books as a child through Stargirl (Which you can also find in the Children's Room) and quickly burned through the rest of his works. Maniac Magee is his most renowned book besides Stargirl, and I loved reading it. It tells the story of a boy who ran away from a difficult home life and became a local legend amongst the Pennsylvania youth. Spinelli's writing is simple in a way that is understood easily, and flows like unraveling yarn. Spinelli takes character tropes and blends them into the real world in fascinating ways. Spinelli's characters are never fully realistic, they're slightly whimsical. They're exaggerated to appeal to the reader and captivate them. Maniac Magee is very well written, it builds curiosity and excitement as you follow the main character around. It deals with serious and mature themes in the way that children view said themes. Divorce, mourning, racial divide, depression- while these topics may be difficult for a child to fully comprehend, they aren't completely foreign to them. Maniac Magee is a great introduction to these concepts.

Because of how it is written, I recommend Maniac Magee for all of those who may feel a little bit of trouble when it comes to reading. Whether it be an inability to pick up complex language, or a shorter attention span, Maniac Magee is great for those who need something they won't get lost in. Maniac Magee falls on the shorter side, with chapters no longer than a few pages. The writing is direct, but still creative with metaphors and comparisons. It is easy to understand the motives and emotions found in the different characters. The setting is developed well, and it's easy to make a picture of the East and West side and those within it.

Maniac Magee is a fun, exciting story that pulls and pushes your emotions as you follow the famous Jeffrey Magee. I do love this book, and I encourage all that read this to come down to the Children's Room and check out not only Maniac Magee, but Spinelli's other works as well.

2. Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass

Every Soul a Star is just such a fun read. I first read it before I was the age of the characters, and it was very fun to compare the lives of these three 13-year-olds with my own. Wendy Mass is an expert in quickly presenting her main characters to the reader. In just a few pages she showcases the motives, flaws, and qualities that define her characters. Every Soul a Star follows Ally, a girl who has lived her life loving space in the confinement of a campground in the middle of nowhere; Bree, a 13-year-old socialite aspiring to be a model; and Jack, a loner who struggles in his everyday life, but thrives in his dreams. Mass endears these three to you impressively effectively. Then she leaves you wanting more with a slight cliffhanger at the end of each chapter. She captures the awkward insecurity that comes with being a preteen in a way that is entertaining, yet also painfully realistic. The characters are developed carefully and deliberately. There's no unprompted growth or maturity. The characters realistically react to the challenges they face and grow accordingly. Jack needs to be needed before he gains more confidence. Bree doesn't begin to appreciate her circumstances until she accepts her old life is gone. The characters are really the stars of the story, and are just so hard not to love. Like I said, it's quite difficult to put down.

The three characters are brought together by an upcoming solar eclipse, and Mass spares no juicy details on all the astronomy behind it. Having gained quite a bit more knowledge in Astrophysics (Took the class- I very much recommend it for all of you attending Gunn) I understood much more of the science introduced in the book. If your child has any interest in the stars I think they'd love to read this book. And even if not, they might discover a new passion for astronomy (just like Bree).

Every Soul a Star is a feel-good story that challenges the idea of cliques by bonding together a group of "unlikely" friends. Without having a character like Bree to show me that the so-called "shallow" girly-girl so often villainized in the media is more than just that I might've never matured out of my 9-year-old self's internalized misogyny. If I were to compare it to a food, I'd compare it to snickerdoodle cookies. It's sweet, warm, and has that spunk you get from the cinnamon. If I'm honest, I had kind of forgotten about this book before encountering it in the children's room. But as soon as I laid eyes on it, I was filled with nostalgia. I really do love this book, and I hope you come down to the Children's Room to check it out.

3. The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

Strap in everyone: this book is so good I could talk about it for hours. Really, I really really love this book. It's- I just really like it. The Apothecary is the first installment in a series following the adventures of Janie Scott with an apothecary and his son Benjamin. It takes place following the end of World War Two, and Meloy paints the confusion and chaos of the time wonderfully through the eyes of a 14-year-old girl. Janie is fantastically likable and such a classic protagonist. The Apothecary includes elements of fantasy, but it is blended into the world in a way that is seamless, and still believable. The elixirs and transformations are reasonably doubted, and reasonably awed. I was grinning the whole time, eating this book up at the pure action-packed fun. The Apothecary holds some more serious themes, especially dealing with the aftermath of such a tragedy, and the adventure is definitely dangerous. However, I never felt like it was too unrealistic- I never thought really? Really, a 14-year-old girl with no experience could do that? Instead, the action and thought processes of the characters made sense in the context and nothing ever seemed too out of pocket. I love a good mix of historical fiction with some fantasy elements, and that's exactly what this is.

Despite not being a huge action fan, I loved this book. I think the pacing and the character really help the story flow along. I recommend this to those looking for something with a plot that pulls the characters around and builds tension. Even so, I really can't see someone not enjoying this book. It has it all! It has the humor, the intellect, the adventure, the romance- I think everyone would enjoy something in this wonderful book. Speaking of romance, I just adore the development of the relationship between Janie and Benjamin. I think it was executed very well and I got quite invested.

Once you've swallowed The Apothecary, you can jump right into the other installments of the series! There are two more books: The Apprentices and The After-Room. I plan on rereading those as well, and I encourage you all very strongly to continue the series. I think my favorite book out of the three would be The Apprentices! You can find The Apothecary in the Children's Room during the sale August 13-14.

-Hannah Miradi


Browse the Judaica section for books on the Jewish religion including editions of the Torah and other basic texts, Kabbalah, Jewish history, the Holocaust, memoirs, Israel, Jewish Women, the Jewish American Experience and other related subjects.

New this month - From the Depth of the Well: An Anthology of Jewish Mysticism; Jewish Comedy: A Serious History; First Person Jewish (Visible Evidence); Healing Psalms: The Dialogues with God That Help You Cope with Life; The Wisdom Books: Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes: A Translation with Commentary.

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


We have made it past Drop-off Donations 3.0 and have returned to accepting donations without the need to make an appointment.


We are closed for donations from Sunday August 7 through Sunday August 14 to prepare the Main Room for this weekend's sale. Please hold your donations until Monday August 15.

Please read our donation guidelines before you bring materials to us.

All that said, our normal hours for drop-off donations are Monday through Saturday, 3pm-5pm. (But not the week before the sale.)


We're always eager to hear your suggestions for ways to improve our book sale. Please email us at

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