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

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

Sunday September 11
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Military History
George R. Hamrdla Collection


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

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.

The Library would like you to know about the re:Maker Fair taking place at Mitchell Park Library on September 10 from 11am to 2pm, so maybe there's something else to do on the way to or from our sale on Saturday, and I (yr hmbl newsletter editor) can't point you at the e-mail because this month they're using the mailing list provider to one that apparently does not do archives.

Maybe it's OK. The Library has a blog too and it covers most of the other topics that were in the most recent newsletter. You can look at that here and it's got an RSS feed here. (The RSS feed may open in your RSS reader instead of in your browser.)

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.

What's special for September

The Humor section has been organized and refreshed this month with the help of substitute section manager Wednesday A. Add some laughs to your life by shopping this section and picking up some fun reads for a mere few dollars! In addition the September sale offers newly stocked books in History and Military History sections. Look for more books from these two sections in the Bargain Room this month as well. Shop the Main Room for a special selection of Art prints that were collected and curated for the September sale by Art section manager Fiona W.! Also, check out the video below Fiona W. created highlighting this special. Nice job Fiona!

FOPAL received a large donation of books from the library of retired Stanford professor George Robert Hamrdla. After attending Stanford's 2-quarterly undergraduate program in Beutelsbach Germany he began a lifetime love for Germany, and obtaining a Ph.D in German Studies and position at Stanford. "Aside from the Army and casual work as a high-school student Stanford was my life and Stanford in Germany (not to mention Berlin, my favorite city) was a, if not the highlight." With the help of volunteers Tyler V. & Rommel S. this donation was processed and organized as a special collection for the September sale. Look for subcategories like; Hitler material, WWI and WWII, (GDR) German Democratic Republic, Eastern Europe, European Union, Written in German, Small Paperback Books, Oversized Books and Miscellaneous and more. FOPAL customers will reap the rewards of all their hard work for the September sale and likely the October sale with the addition of the George Robert Hamrdla collection/books in German.

Special Prints Sale for September

I will put a special sale for Prints this month. This includes a set of watercolor prints from Paul Cezanne, Norman Rockwell colorprints, lithographies by a German artist, Snoopy posters, and some Japanese prints.

I made a short video. (Which is hosted on Google Drive, click to view.)

-Fiona W.


Vikings!: The History section received a number of books on Vikings this month, including a nice copy of Children of Ash and Elm. Look for them on the World History shelf.

We continue to have a large Afro-American history section: one of this month's featured books is Eldridge Cleaver's Soul on Ice. This month we also have an expanded section on African history and culture. In the China section, we have a new biography of Chairman Mao, and a 1945 book, Face to Face with China featuring photos by Cecil Beaton. European and US history also have some interesting books on display. This month we have a section of older books, mostly US history, from 1920 or earlier: most of them are priced at less than $10. My favorite is Giants of the Republic, written by "A Corp of Competent Biographers"! We've also acquired another complete set of Durant's Story of Civilization.

Don't forget to check out our red carts: we have some of our more unusual and hard to classify books there, as well as large volumes, maps, atlases, and various compendiums.

-Linda McAllister

Games & Puzzles

This month puzzles will again have a full bookcase near the Main Room entry, this time featuring fun Halloween and fall themed puzzles. Our regular shelves are also full with many new donations.

-Vicky Evans


Take a quick trip to City Lights Bookstore featuring -- who else? -- Allen Ginsberg. At the other end of the spectrum, find a selection of poems about animals on the bottom shelf of the Poetry section.

-Mandy MacCalla

(Poetry shelves are pictured at <>)

Essays/Short Stories

This month we have a remarkable selection or essays. This includes compilations of the work of multiple authors and the work of single authors, all well known in their fields.

Short Stories abound with both collections of stories judged to be remarkable. There are multiple anthologies devoted to works of historical significance. There is, of course, a remarkable collection of the work of individual authors in both hard and soft bound editions.

There is a goodly assortment of folklore and fairytales as well several important collections of letters.

-Allan Fisch

Home & Crafts

Beauty & Fashion features designers Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior.

Home & Interior Design showcases Great Kitchens: At Home With America's Top Chefs; country home style from the U.S. and Europe; outdoor spaces and children's spaces. Crafts include floral crafts; coloring books and paper crafts; fabric arts and quilting.

-Virginia Perry

Antiques & Other Collectibles

Titles in September range from Weather Vanes to Woolworth's; cars, cards, care of your antiques and more.

-Virginia Perry


Philosophy is now across from Judaica, next to Language section.

Top shelf specials: Kuster, A Philosophy of Madness; Prideaux, I am Dynamite, a Life of Nietzsche; Guyer, Kant and the Experience of Freedom; Bystrov, Philosophical Logic; Maritain, Existence and the Existent.

On the left look for works of many individual philosophers.

-Nancy Mahoney Cohen


Look for John Newman’s 1884 edition of Christianity Triumphant. And next to it Richard Hooker's Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. Also Brunner's two-volume Christianity and Civilisation. In the Scripture bay see William Brown's The Seven Pillars of Creation.

-Nancy Mahoney Cohen

Children's Room

The Children's Room has a real book bonanza this month. Our School-age Fiction section is loaded with early chapter books for every major series: Magic Tree House, Geronimo Stilton, Ivy and Bean, Judy Moody, and Captain Underpants, to name just some. We also have the Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries series from book 1 through the latest, and Harry Potter books 1 through 7 in both paperback and hardcover. There are also a few deluxe art editions of some of the Harry Potters. Teachers will want to look through our excellent selection of books by award-winning authors, a perfect and affordable purchase for their classroom libraries. The Activities sections include multiple shelves of games and puzzles. Our math and science table is overloaded with workbooks, textbooks, and books of science experiments. And recently we've received several donations of toys especially for young children. The Religion section has many books for the upcoming Jewish high holidays: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. Parenting offers books for parenting teens, as well as books for new parents. In Beginning Readers you'll find many books at all levels, including non-fiction, Star Wars, biographies, and some nice hardback story collections. Check the DVD shelves for lots of Disney and Harry Potter DVDs, as well as other favorites. Last but not least, the French and German sections of World Languages had to be expanded to accommodate all the donations this month--many lovely books at all levels and in all genres.

-Carolyn Davidson

Teen Book Reviews

Hello again friends! For my second month reviewing, I thought I'd do some "classics" in the spirit of back to school. These are books that you might read for a literature class, but can also be found in the Children's Room. These three are great to introduce your child to the world of classics, and can be enjoyed as an adult as well. I already own and love all of them, and I hope you get to as well. Enjoy!

1. Call of the Wild by Jack London

If you had asked me what my favorite book was at any point in my childhood, I'd have most likely said Call of the Wild. I stole it off my brother's shelf and snuck it upstairs to read before bed. I'd sit under the covers with my solar powered flashlight and read it over and over again until my parents came to bed. I loved it, and I loved rereading it. I have four versions of the book, and the one I read this time was a gift from my cousin. Rereading this book felt so effortlessly familiar, every line resurfaced from the depths of my memory. I have a lot of love for this book.

Call of the Wild tells the story of the once sheltered Buck of Santa Clara Valley (a local!) whose life was completely thrown off the rails after being kidnapped to join the search for gold as a sled dog. The book follows Buck in his journey passed from place to place, meeting new fantastic characters through the lens of this dog. As a kid I was very into wolves (I still am), and I didn’t need any more convincing beyond the dog protagonist. But what really made this book special to me was the writing. I adore Jack London's writing style; how he describes details in their simplest, rawest form, giving a new perspective to what might be considered a mundane scene otherwise. Rereading this book made me realize how much his writing style has influenced my own. I wholeheartedly believe this is a very, very, well written book. The pacing is tense and triumphant. Buck's struggle throughout the book is captured beautifully. Every time he overcomes whatever is thrown at him, it feels justified and satisfactory.

Call of the Wild isn't a long book (about 100 pages), but it can be difficult to understand at parts. This is a book that can be enjoyed and appreciated as a mature adult, but is told simply enough that your child can understand it. I first read it in second grade, to give a reference. If you're looking for a feel-good story that is concise and action-packed, this is the book for you. I heavily encourage you to come to the children’s room and grab it from the Classics section.

2. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

I'd be quite surprised if you told me you have never heard of this story, but I wouldn't be too surprised to hear you've never read it. Being one of Mark Twain's better known works, its name has been heard around the block many times. It isn't the first book people tend to reach for, but I think more people should consider it. I first read it after hearing it was the predecessor to the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (another great read), and read it again in 8th grade for English. If your child ends up going to Fletcher Middle School, they might read it as well.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer tells the story of the adventures of one young Tom Sawyer. He's such a fun character to follow around, with the way he gets out of his mischief with his wit. The book focuses on themes of truth, imagination, and friendship. Tom struggles with understanding the weight of his lies and manipulation. He's a protagonist that is likable and supportable, but isn't perfect. My favorite character however, is Huckleberry Finn. He's full of compassion, yet still has a practical and logical means of approaching problems. He's a survivor, with inventive and creative ways of getting out of trouble. Him and Tom are a perfect match, and the chemistry between the two is incredible. Despite being published in the 1800s, the two are still great examples of what 12 year old boys are like.

It's a classic for a reason. If your child is a fan of books set in an older time, is interested in classic literature, or is merely curious, I'd definitely recommend it! Having experience reading these types of books can be really helpful by building the skills in analyzing and understanding the books they'll read in school. I should give a warning however, the book is definitely a product of its time. There's quite a bit of backwards thinking and harmful stereotypes, which can be tricky to navigate. The book must be read with an understanding that the depictions and language are outdated and shouldn’t be modeled in everyday life. All in all, I think it's a great read!

3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

What a book! I was impressed the first time I read it but the second time around it really knocked me out of the park. It really is a lovely story that captures growth wonderfully. Despite the book being a bit more Jo focused, I found myself getting very attached to the other girls. I found a bit of myself in all of them. Rereading it now that I'm a bit older, I definitely felt the themes a little harder. The book has had a resurgence in popularity following the 2019 film version (which I just watched recently, I enjoyed it) and I'm glad it has! If you have seen the movie and enjoyed it, chances are you'd like the book! The main difference between the books and the movies I found was the depiction of Amy's character. All of Alcott's characters are great, especially the main four girls. They all have charms and flaws that attract you to them right away. Like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the characters still feel relatable and familiar despite the time difference. The dialogue and narration in this book is just marvelous.

Little Women tells the story of four sisters -- Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth -- and their experiences becoming women in the 1800s. The book has two parts, one focused on their childhoods and one as adults. The girls struggle with balancing their identities with love and looking for a future partner, as well as sickness and loss. It's a classic coming-of-age American novel, and I found myself relating a lot of modern coming-of-age media with elements in this book. It has inspired a lot of other great works and I believe that it is a quintessential read to the fans of the genre.

Little Women is full of memorable lines that just hit you. I found myself having to step back from time to time to appreciate something said. The tense moments between the sisters are heartbreaking. The book has moments that are filled wonderfully with joy, and others that are gut-wrenchingly sad. It's a sensitive book that captures the turbulent mood changes that occur as people slowly become adults. I would keep in mind the sadder themes and occurrences when choosing this book, but I really think it's a good read. I do hope to see it be read this sale weekend.

-Hannah Miradi

Health and Medicine

It's the start of a new school year and even if your school days are in the rear view mirror, this is a great opportunity to peruse the Health and Medicine sections and find books that will expand your mind. If you are a student (or know one), there are many reference and text books in the Medicine section to ease the journey. The shelves this month are brimming with both old and new editions of important reference and text books such as Goodman and Gilman as well as Harrison's along with several medical dictionaries.

The Medicine section is more positioned to have books to help others, while the Health section has a wide array of books with material that can help you as well as others on a wide range of subjects. The section contains books on traditional as well as alternative medicine and this month there is a copy of Trick or Treatment?: Alternative Medicine on Trial by Edzard Ernst which presents a data based approach to evaluating this subject.

-Susan Light


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 - A Wandering Feast: A Journey Through the Jewish Culture of Eastern Europe; Ancient Israel: The Former Prophets; Who Will Say Kaddish?: A Search for Jewish Identity in Contemporary Poland; Conversations with God: Prayers for Jewish Women; Hannah Senesh: Her Life and Diary.

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


I'd like to suggest to our customers that they spend some time in the Photography section, especially browsing our extensive monographs shelves. There are many, many fine selections by famous photographers, with pages that are worthy of framing. The prices are very reasonable! The National Geographic volumes are an especially good buy.

-George Chaltas


In the Music section, we have received a large trove of titles focused on dance and ballet, including a large format book of photographs of famous dancers. On the pop side, bios of Elton John, Keith Richards, and Bob Dylan, and a Rolling Stone Magazine book of photographs as well.

-George Chaltas


After decades of a surplus of STEM books being donated, we have come up to a drought. What has been donated is still quite good, even of the quantity has diminished. All shelves are pictured and available for viewing at

-Edwin El-Kareh

Sheet Music

We continue to receive several large donations. Fortunately, we have space below the STEM books as we also have a greater than normal supply of books about music. Some sheet music is for instruments that we normally do not get: harp, lute and balalaika. All shelf pictures are at Because most sheet music is spineless, most every item has been individually pictured. Each musical instrument has its own webpage, so pictures should be faster to get to.

-Edwin El-Kareh

Science Fiction and Fantasy

In Science Fiction, there is Neal Stephenson's latest novel, Termination Shock, and a complete set of Cixin Liu's award-winning Three Body Problem trilogy. In Fantasy, a nice hardcover of Patrick Rothfuss' popular The Name of the Wind, and a batch of Christopher Tolkien's editions of posthumous JRR Tolkien writings. Tolkien completists might be interested in the Taiwan pirate edition of The Silmarillion.

-Rich McAllister


In Comics, there's a unusual set of Japanese manga in French translations from Quebec, plus Japanese-language manga, and even some in English. There's also the bulky Marvel Encyclopedia, very useful if you're watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies and TV shows, to identify the obscure character that just popped up.

-Rich McAllister


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 September 4 through Sunday September 11 to prepare the Main Room for this weekend's sale. Please hold your donations until Monday September 12.

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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