Friends of the Palo Alto Library Visit our web site 

Saturday November 9
Ephemera 8am - 4pm
Bargain and Children's Rooms 10am - 4pm
Main Room Sale 11am - 4pm
Tent Sale 9am - 4pm

Sunday November 10
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Jane Austen
Music & Dance
Games & Puzzles


4000 Middlefield Road
Palo Alto
NE corner of the Cubberley Community Center
(650) 213-8755

More information on the sales
Donate your old books

Marty's (Main) Room
In our Main Room, prices are way below what used book stores charge. Hardcover books start at $1.00 and softcover books start at only 50 cents.

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 grocery bags from us for $5 each and stuffing them with any items in the room. Buy 4 bags and get the 5th one FREE!

Library Closings for Veterans' Day, Thanksgiving Holiday
All libraries will be closed Sunday, November 10 and Monday, November 11 for Veterans' Day. Normal hours will resume on Tuesday, November 12.

Libraries also close at 6pm on Wednesday, November 27 for the Thanksgiving holiday, remaining closed Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29. Normal hours will resume on Saturday, November 30.

You can find out about closings and other Palo Alto Library events on the Library's event calendar.
Friends Bookstore in Downtown Library

If you cannot attend the book sale, please drop by the Friends Bookstore located inside the Downtown Library and open during library hours. It is restocked regularly with a unique selection of books for all ages and interests.

FOPAL Book Sale Notices Now on Twitter
You can now follow us on Twitter @fopalbooks. We'll post Sale notices and will reveal the Sunday 50% off section via our Twitter feed.
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 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. 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 (650) 494-1082. Several dozen organizations benefit from the monthly giveaways, including local hospitals, homeless programs, senior centers, schools, and jails, as well as libraries in rural areas and on reservations, and literacy projects in many other countries.

True in 2004 and still true in 2013

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

This is still true in 2013! 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 book sale customers are likely to see some books priced higher than $1 for a hardback and 50 cents for a paperback. A suggested pricing guideline for pricing book using internet research is one third 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 a fifty percent or more fraction of the on-line prices. These higher value/priced books 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 $100.00. 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 at sells books at the monthly sale but also at the Friends Kiosk (Downtown library) at auction and on-line.

If you can't attend the September sale, please drop by the Friends Kiosk located in the Downtown library during library hours. Books are priced $1 for hardbacks and 50 cents for paperbacks. The Friends Kiosk is restocked regularly with books for all interests. Or, shop our on-line book store All proceeds from book sales benefit the Palo Alto Libraries.


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.

Members-Early Sale Set for December 14th

The FOPAL Board of Directors has set the annual Members-Early sale for Saturday December 14th. If you're a member of the Friends of the Palo Alto Library, you'll be able to get in early to the Main Room at the December 14th sale! At this once-a-year event, Life Members are allowed to enter the sale at 9am and can purchase up to 50 books. Members at all other levels can enter the sale at 10am and purchase the normal 12 books at a time. Enjoy a less crowded main book room and get first crack at our wonderful collection of materials. Books are always a welcome holiday treat!

Tickets for early arrivers are handled differently at the Members-Early sale. Tickets given out are for the 9 am and 10 am lines at the Main Room, since most people who come early are Members of the Friends. Each Member will get just one ticket, although Members at and above the $30 levels may bring in their families, consisting of one or two adults and children. No tickets will be given out for the 11 am line.

You may renew your membership, or join FOPAL, that day. Renew, or join now!

Preview Our Shelves

Click here to see some of the shelves at this weekend's sale Check out some of the thousands of books that will be on sale this weekend using our shelf preview pictures.

FOPAL Book Sale Committee Reinforces 12-Book Limit

Last month we wrote about a growing issue in the Main Book Room: customers who remove large numbers of books from our shelves and hoard them, making it hard for other shoppers to find books they wish to buy, especially early in the sale.

By far, most that come to our sales early on Saturday are enthusiastic, cooperative, and they appreciate the reasons for our 12-book limit, which is in force only until the Sale Manager announces that the limit is lifted. This usually happens around noon or earlier if all who are in line have been admitted and the Fire Department's occupancy limit is no longer a problem.

Beginning with the November 9th sale, the following rules will be enforced during the period of the 12-book limit rule.

  • Shoppers may not bring in more than one bag per customer, or any oversize bags. Standard grocery-sized bags are okay -- and of course we encourage the use of our highly visible flashy green FOPAL bags, for sale outside the entry ramp. Please remember that boxes and large backpacks are a safety hazard, and we cannot allow them when the book room is crowded.
  • We will eject shoppers from the sale if they refuse to limit the number of books removed from shelves to 12. We will increase the number of FOPAL volunteers in the book room to remind shoppers about the rule. A reminder: as always, customers are welcome to choose 12 books, pay for them, exit Marty's room, store their purchased books and re-enter as many times as they wish, observing the waiting line if it is still in existence.

Many book sales in other communities now prohibit dealers and people with scanners from entering when the sale opens. We are considering adopting this policy, if hoarding persists.

Our goal is to make our book sales as pleasant and rewarding as possible, for as many customers as possible. We are grateful for the support of most of our shoppers in honoring these rules. We ask for the commitment of our "business clients" in considering the rights of all of our customers and observing our rules.

Many thanks to all of you -FOPAL Book Sale Committee

Special Seasonal Selections

One of our long time section managers, Althea Andersen, has been working hard to bring out all the seasonal Winter Holidays books and CDs we've been collecting these many months. You'll find a large selection for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas. If you are looking for great ideas on how to liven up your holidays, look no further. You are sure to find something you'll be excited to read, listen to or share with loved ones during this upcoming holiday season. Look for the festive red and green display as you enter the Main Room on the right. Also, because we have even more Hanukkah and Christmas stuff still packed away in storage, look for more of our collection to be put on sale in December.

Section Managers Representing Their Sections

Greeting & boxed cards

Boxed and individual holiday cards are on sale in the main room holiday section. Individual holiday cards as well as blank note cards are also on sale outside the main room, at bargain prices. -Marda Buchholz

Readers of General Fiction

This month you have a "Second Chance" to purchase recent trade paperbacks (2010-2013) that you may have overlooked at a previous sale. These books -- some by favorite authors, others by debut novelists -- are in good to very good condition. Each is priced at only one dollar. You will find more than three dozen of these books on two shelves marked "Second Chance," located directly below the shelves labeled "New Fiction This Month." -Marian Knox

A Jane Austen Fan Donation

For the November book sale look for a large number of Jane Austen (British Writer, Born December 16, 1775) book as well as several DVDs offered for you to select from. This special collection can be found near the Fiction Area in an end cap next the line that forms near the cashier's tables.

To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment. -Jane Austen

Humor for November

Humor is the number one go-to section for holiday gifts in 2013!

Let's face it not all presents are created equal - sometimes what you are really looking for is something small, cheap and colorful. We can help. On the top right shelf there are over 30 books that fit the bill. You will find many brand new books there such as Peanuts, Doctor's Quotations and Ellen de Generes. For the literati there are books of epigrams from Wilde and Balzac, for the discerning, Three Men in a Boat - surely a masterpiece of its type, and a particularly excellent book of humorous anecdotes and quotations on phobias. If you have one (or more) or have a relationship with a sufferer this is essential reading. Gift ideas elsewhere: for the animal lover, 34 books ranging from dogs to zebras; the endless teenager, 4 books on flatulence; the politico, 5 books related to President G. W. Bush; and for Hanukah, 5 books of Jewish humor.

On the left you will find a full shelf covering the classic era from Robert Benchley up through the 40s, 50s and 60s. Of special note here is an excellent copy of Ervin Cobb's Speaking of Operations, the 1912 edition!

And of course our old favorites including, Dave Barry (18), James Thurber (10), Garrison Keillor (12), and O'Rourke (8) are well represented.

There is a gift opportunity for everyone...

Cartoons: You will find high quality hard backs, such as The New Yorker, on the top right shelf but 99% of cartoons are over in the Bargain Room, and 99% of them will be only 50 cents! -Nigel Jones

"Tell us your phobias and we will tell you what you are afraid of." -Robert Benchley


Look for the broad section of C.S. Lewis titles. And church history is represented by authors Duchesne and Bihlmeyer. The large format three-volume The House of God through the Ages has wonderful pictures of religious edifices. The ministry area has selections on leadership, liturgy, preaching, spiritual direction and more. -Nancy Mahoney Cohen

Home & Craft

To make your holidays easy and even more fun, check out the featured shelf in the Home & Craft section this month. You'll find books on gifts to make, easy entertaining, and flower arranging to create a festive mood for you and your home. -Nancy Welch


Philosophy for November- Location Location Location...

The Philosophy section is now in the main aisle in two adjacent bookcases with each bookcase having a slightly different focus.

Left Bookcase: This bookcase focuses on books by or about specific philosophers. Many of the old favorites are here again this month such as Aristotle (14), Dewey (5), Plato (22), Thoreau (11). Noteworthy this month: Adam Smith: Wealth of Nations, 2 Vols. Arlington House; Paul Johnson: Socrates; Kierkegaard: Fear & Trembling; A Foucault Reader; Pascal: both Pensees and a biography, Anguish & Joy. Also, we have 12 books relating to Chinese philosophy, located on the bottom shelf with two excellent books on Confucius, Sage of the Road, and The Global Confucius.

Right Bookcase: This bookcase focuses on books about philosophy. This includes dictionaries, encyclopedia sets, and single volumes from sets, histories of philosophy or specific groups of philosophers or schools of thought. This bookcase is arranged differently this month. On the top shelf are tomes of one sort or another, great value on both a $ per page and a $ per profound thought basis. On the second shelf are 24 books related to Ethics and Morals (e.g. Lippmann, Fagothey, Pojman) and 5 on Existentialism (e.g. Etienne Gilson, Morgenau). On the third shelf are recent arrivals including Ricoeur, de Botton, and Sahakron, followed by a mix of interesting books definitely worth browsing through.

Bargain Room: for all the philosophy books that have been well traveled don't forget to visit the Bargain Room. -Nigel Jones

Music & Dance

The music and dance book section covers a variety of dance and musical styles - from belly dancing to ballet and from Bach to Dylan. Here are some of this month's new titles:

  • Belly Dancing: The Sensual Art of Energy and Spirit by Pina Coluccia, Anette Paffrath and Jean Putz
  • Strike Up the Band: A New History of Musical Theatre by Scott Miller
  • Our Musicals, Ourselves: A Social History of the American Musical Theatre by John Bush Jones
  • The Language of the Classical French Organ: a Musical Tradition Before 1800 by Fenner Douglass
  • There Was a Fire: Jews, Music and the American Dream by Sidran, Ben (Mar 15, 2012)
  • The Organ Music of J. S. Bach by Peter Williams
  • Kohn on Music Licensing by Al Kohn and Bob Kohn Third Edition
  • South To Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous by John Broven
  • Magic in the Night: The Words and Music of Bruce Springsteen by Rob Kirkpatrick
  • Nothing But the Blues: The Music and the Musicians by Lawrence Cohn

For those who play a musical instrument we have sheet music for various instruments including piano, recorder, harmonica, and violin as well as librettos for operas and song books. -Charlotte Epstein

November in the Children's Room

A large donation of puzzles and games came into the Children's Room this month. Our Children's room volunteers have taken the time to see that all the puzzle pieces are there. As far as the games there are the classics Operation, Air Hockey and Spill Your Guts available to name a few. Look for these all together and priced from $1 to $5.

Arushi's Recommendations for Tweens

Belle Prater's Boy by Ruth White is a story of friendship told through the eyes of 12-year-old Gypsy living in 1953. Her cousin, Woodrow, moves in next door with her grandparents, and she has her chance to question Woodrow about the greatest mystery ever to hit Gypsy's town of Coal Station, Virginia: Woodrow's mother vanished from the face of the earth one cold morning at 5:00 am, and hasn't been seen since. Gypsy and Woodrow quickly become best friends, and he reveals that he has been keeping a secret about his mother. Soon, it becomes apparent that Woodrow isn't the only one with secrets he'd rather not share. Belle Prater's Boy is a wonderful story of hope and understanding, and Gypsy and Woodrow finally learn to accept the truth in their own ways, no matter how painful it may be.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan is perhaps the best book I have ever read that starts off a series dramatically and grippingly. At the beginning of the book, Percy Jackson is an 11-year-old New Yorker who has been kicked out of every school he ever attended. After an exhilarating encounter with the Minotaur (I know, I know, that's a monster from a Greek myth and monsters don't exist), Percy finally understands the truth. He's a half-blood who has a Greek god as a parent. In this world, monsters do exist, and they try to kill every demigod who gets in their way. Accompanied by his friends Grover (who has hooves, by the way), and Annabeth, Percy leaves Camp Half Blood, a safe camp for half-bloods to train. He ventures out into a monster filled America to save the entire world from World War III. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan is an amazing tale that brings Greek myths and gods to life. I know I certainly learned almost everything I know about Greek gods from this series!

Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is about a mischievous young boy named Tom. He gets in much more trouble than any other boy in school, and his Aunt Polly, who takes care of him, thinks that Tom will be the death of her. Almost as soon as the story starts, it gets interesting. Tom's friend, Huck, invites him to go to the graveyard in the middle of the night to try out a cure for warts. Tom and Huck see something they shouldn't have, and suddenly, they find themselves in the middle of a huge mysterious scandal. Only Tom and Huck know the truth, and it takes plenty of courage and risks to set things right, with the help of the new girl in town, Becky, Tom ventures into a world of adventures, including running away to an island to be pirates and being trapped in a cave with a ruthless criminal. Tom Sawyer is an adventurous and suspenseful book that everyone should read at least once in their lifetime. -Arushi Sahai

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