Friends of the Palo Alto Library (FOPAL)

By: Lauren Murakami


Located at Palo Alto’s Cubberley Community Center is The Friends of the Palo Alto Library (FOPAL). Since 1938, Friends of the Palo Alto Library, a non-profit organization, has raised money to help local libraries. Its goals are to give Palo Alto residents the opportunity to volunteer, donate, and help out the community.


Residents are welcome to donate items that FOPAL will then sell for reasonable prices at its monthly sales. Revenue from these sales is donated to Palo Alto libraries throughout town. These libraries use the money to purchase new books, resources, equipment, and programs for the community.

Items accepted for donation should be gently-used and in good condition. Below is a list of accepted items:

  • Fiction and non-fiction books

  • Textbooks and computer books

  • Commercially recorded items: audiobooks on CDs or cassettes, movies on DVD or Blu-ray disks

  • Software and manuals

  • Printed Ephemera: black and white photos and all handwritten items (journals, letters, diaries, envelopes with stamps, postcards, historical and unusual material)

  • Maps (folded or rolled), except AAA maps of the United States

  • Puzzles, games, and toys

  • Sheet music

Book and media sales are hosted by FOPAL every second Saturday and Sunday of the month.

FOPAL has three buildings and two outside areas. The three smaller buildings are known as their Main Room, the Children’s Room, and the Bargain Room. During their monthly sales, all three rooms are open to the public as well as their two outside setups. The Main Room is open every Monday-Saturday from 3-5 pm to accept donations.



“While I’m cleaning my house or cleaning out drawers, I end up finding a lot of things in practically new items, like books, puzzles, old games, etc. Even though I don’t need these things anymore, someone else might be able to use them, you know? When I heard about Friends of the Palo Alto Library taking donations, I decided to bring my stuff here,” said one Palo Alto resident.

People’s unwanted items are often treasures in other people’s eyes.

“I find myself going to drop off a basket full of stuff every couple of Saturdays at FOPAL. I’ve also gone to a few of their sales. There are so many cool things there that people have donated! It’s a lot of fun just looking through everything,” said another community member.


FOPAL is hosting its next sale on April 9th and 10th. With the arrival of spring, many households are thinking about doing some spring cleaning. This is the perfect opportunity to make some donations to FOPAL. As many people discover, donating feels fulfilling, especially because it helps others.


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