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October 11
10 am - 4 pm
Outdoor $1 Sale opens at 9 am
Main Room opens at 11 am

October 12
1 pm - 4 pm
Bargain Room opens at 11 am
Specials in October:

$1 Booksale Outside Main Room
Baseball • Collectible Videos
Drama & Plays • Fishing
Halloween (Children's Room)
Marty's Favorite Books
Presidents & Politics • Sheet Music
St. Nicholas Magazines (1875-1930)
Thanksgiving & Christmas
Topographic Maps for Computers
Over 50,000 items altogether!

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

More information on the sales
Donate your old books

Marty's/Main Book Room Sale
In our Main Room, prices are way below what used book stores charge. Paperbacks are 50 cents and up, and hardcovers are $1 and up.  Numbered tickets for the Main Room are given out beginning at 8 am on Saturday.  These reserve your place in the line that forms before the 11 am opening.  You may pick up a ticket for yourself and for one other person.
Children's Books in K6
Room K6 in the K wing (see map) is entirely filled with children's books and toys.  You'll find picture books, school age fiction, award winners, non-English titles, and books for parents and teachers, many for under $1.  This room and the Bargain Room open at 10 am on Saturday.
Bargain Books in K7
Next door in K7 is the Bargain Room, where paperbacks are 50 cents, hardcovers are $1, and children's books are just 25 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.  Save even more on Sundays by buying grocery bags from us for $5 each and stuffing them with any items in the room.

Library to Close October 13 for Columbus Day

Palo Alto's libraries will be closed on Monday, October 13 for the Columbus Day holiday.  Even when the libraries are closed, you can still search the online catalog, submit reference desk questions, access many online resources, and get book recommendations.

Members-Early Sale on December 13

A reminder: members of the Friends of the Palo Alto Library get in early once a year.  This year, it will be at our December 13 sale.  Regular members get into the Main Room one hour early and life members are admitted two hours early.  More information.

Non-Profit Book Giveaway
Non-profit organizations and schools that need free books should come to the Bargain Room this month from 4 to 6 pm on Sunday, October 12.  Please bring grocery bags to put books into.  More information.

We're always eager to hear your suggestions for ways to improve our book sale.  Please email them to us at or mention them to a volunteer at the sale.

New Booksale Hours and Rules

Starting this month, the Bargain Room will open at 11 am on Sundays. That gives you two extra hours when all prices in the room are half-off, or to save even more by stuffing grocery bags full of books, videos, records, and games for $5 a bag. Our two other rooms will still open at 1 pm on Sunday and all rooms close at 4 pm.
With these extra Sunday hours for the Bargain Room, there will no longer be 50% discounts on Saturday afternoons.
Our new outdoor sale of $1 books begins at 9 am on Saturday, two hours before the adjacent Main Room itself opens. The outdoor sale will will be open until 4 pm and again from 1 to 4 pm on Sunday.
One other change: to make shopping fairer for all our customers, please buy just 12 items at a time in the Children's Room during its first hour on Saturday (from 10 am to 11 am ). Our cashiers are happy to help you store your purchases outside if you wish to buy more.
Marty Paddock, Recent Friends Booksale Manager, Passes Away

It is with sadness that we extend our sympathies to the relatives and friends of Marty Paddock, manager of the Friends of the Palo Alto Library booksale from 2000 to 2006, who passed away on October 1, 2008 at home with her family.  Under her leadership, our booksales more than doubled to well over $200,000 a year and the entire operation moved from Terman into our present location in the Cubberley Community Center.  With tremendous energy and enthusiasm, Marty managed to make each month's sale a success no matter what obstacles appeared.  Her presence will be greatly missed by all of our customers, volunteers, donors, and members.
In Marty's honor, we now call the Main Room at Cubberley "Marty's Room." There are also brass plaques commemorating her service for Palo Alto's library community on benches and patio chairs at Palo Alto's Main Library.  A memorial service for Marty will be held in the coming weeks; please see our web site for more information when that becomes available.

Preview Our Shelves

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

October 23 Annual Meeting of the Friends

Come to our annual meeting later this month to hear Dr. Jonathan Herzog of the Stanford History Department and the Hoover Institute discuss "Red State, Blue State: The Mysterious Twentieth-Century Shift in America's Political Map."  Herzog recently wrote The Hammer and the Cross, a book examining how and why American leaders employed religion as a weapon in the early Cold War.  He is also the son of a library director.

We'll be holding our own elections at the meeting as well.  Our Nominating Committee's slate for 2009 officers is Betsy Allyn (President), Martha Schmidt (Vice President), Margarita Quihuis (Secretary), and Enid Pearson (Treasurer).  Half of the Friend's board is elected each year and the committee has nominated Gretchen Emmons, Gerry Masteller, Enid Pearson, Jim Schmidt, Steve Staiger, Ellen Wyman, and Scottie Zimmerrnan for the board seats with 2009-2010 terms.
The meeting will begin on Thursday, October 23 at 7:30 pm at the Palo Alto Art Center Auditorium at 1313 Newell Ave.  Refreshments will be served and the event is free and open to all.

Progress on Audit Recommendations

Library Director Diane Jennings reported to the City Council on Monday, October 5 as to the status of 32 recommendations to improve the library made last year by the City Auditor.  18 of the recommendations have been completed, resulting in a unified scheduling and tracking system for employees, 68 magazine subscriptions that will not be renewed due to low usage, fingerprinting of all adult volunteers, better cash handling, and resumption of sending collection letters, among others.  Based on the auditor's recommendations to establish performance targets, the library sought to increase volunteer hours 10% in 2007-08 over the prior year but achieved 2%.  However, the library exceeded its goals of increasing Operation Homebound recipients and volunteers by 20% and now delivers materials to the Palo Alto Nursing Center and the Palo Alto Commons as well.
Jennings pointed out that by January 2009, patrons will be able to pay overdue fines by credit card online, as the auditor urged.  The city's budget staff, however, turned down for 2008-09 the recommendation to begin weekend transfers of materials between branches, which would expedite filling patron holds.
Surveys of Palo Altans have shown interest in longer library hours.  During the temporary closure of the College Terrace branch beginning in 2009, Jennings noted that freed-up staff may be able to lengthen the Mitchell Park Library's hours to match those at Main.  In addition, information collected from the new employee scheduling and tracking system will let the library answer next year the auditor's questions of whether existing staff could be redeployed to provide more open hours of operations altogether and if overtime can be reduced or eliminated.
Some of the audit's recommendations relate to the upcoming bond measure N.  At the auditor's request, the library determined that the new library at Mitchell Park will require one to three new staff positions, although automation and radio tagging of items might reduce that.  If the measure fails, the auditor suggested that the library receive additional funds to handle minor repairs and routine replacement of furniture and shelving, which the library says will require $24,000 in 2009-10.
For more information, see the 2007 audit, the library's recent report and detailed update on meeting the auditor's recommendations, the library's final report on automating book returns and radio tagging of items in the library, and a related Palo Alto Daily News story.

Palo Alto Library Bond Measure "N" Goes to Voters

On November 4, Palo Alto voters will decide the fate of library bond measure N, a $76 million effort to replace one library and update two others.  Here's the project in a nutshell:
Downtown Library Main Library Mitchell Park Library and Community Center
Square Footage No change Increases to 29,647 sq. ft. Increases to 51,255 sq. ft.
Collection Size No change Decreases slightly Increases to 150,000
Patron Seats

No change

No change Increases to 150
Meeting Areas New room for 80 New room for 100 and 4 group study rooms Large multi-purpose room, program room for 60, 3 group study rooms, 4 classrooms, computer room, and game room
Public Computers (excluding laptops) No change No change Increases to 40
Parking No change Increases to 88 spaces Increases to 138 spaces
Possible Completion Date 2010 2014 2012
Cost $4 million $18 million $50 million 
Bond Tax Impact

$200.42 annually for the average single family residence ($28.74 per $100,000 of assessed value)

Other Costs

$750,000 to $1.1 million annually in higher operating expenses;
about $4.3 million one-time for furniture, fixtures, equipment

Artist's view of the proposed combined Mitchell Park
Library and Community Center

We thank our readers for submitting some questions about the proposal.  One asks, "What is the main motivation for the Bond issue?" The main motivation is to replace the Mitchell Park Library and Community Center by a combined facility about two-and-a-half times larger.  This accounts for 2/3 of the bond funds.
Another question was whether the approximately $976 per square foot for completing the design on and constructing the new Mitchell Park Library and Community Center is reasonable, given that local residences costs much less to construct?  The answer is that it's best to compare Measure N against other local library projects, which have similar design and construction requirements.  For example, a 2007 ballot measure to build a new 116,000 square foot Sunnyvale Library projected costs under $930 per square foot.  Since the Mitchell Park building, if approved, will start a year or more later and be less than half the size, Palo Alto's higher price is partly explained by inflation and fewer economies of scale.  Inflation is also a factor for why Palo Alto's cost is higher than the $772 per square foot for full design and construction of the 53,000 square foot Seven Trees Library and Community Center in San Jose, which broke ground this year.
Learn more by reviewing the official bond documents, SmartVoter's summary, the web sites of supporters and opponents, our quick views of the proposed designs, recent poll results, the city's project website and discussion of the ballot measure, previous coverage on our news pages, and various articles and forums at Palo Alto Online.

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.  While the Better Business Bureau recommends that no more than 35% of a charitable organization's expenses be for management and fundraising expenses, ours were under 1% for our 2006-2007 fiscal year.  In other words, over 99% of the money we raised went to help Palo Alto Library users.  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.