In 2013 FOPAL is going to be celebrating 75 years of supporting the Palo Alto Community Libraries. With non-profit status for 30+ years this amazing organization is the best example of book recycling in the peninsula. FOPAL receives and process 40 thousand donated books, holds a book sale the every 2nd weekend and generates approximately $20,000- in sales each month. The majority of this money goes directly to the Palo Alto Community Libraries, the annual donation is over $200,000- FOPAL is a great place to volunteer, while getting a first look at all the great books. My experience is that the volunteers here are smart, passionate and involved. The Friday lunch before the monthly sale is a great indication of the groups commitment. 40+ volunteers show up to help get the sales rooms in tip top shape, do an inventory of each book and enjoy a yummy lunch with lively conversation. Big FUN!
Friends of the Palo Alto Library (the CORRECT name of the nonprofit) has existed for 30 years. Starting small, FOPAL has grown to include approx. 150 volunteers. The objectives of FOPAL include receiving donated books, sorting for subject (biography, history, gardening, etc.), pricing, and shelving books for the MONTHLY used book sale. In the past 6 years FOPAL has raised well over $1 million. The average for the past 3 years ranges from $250,000 to $325,000. The money is used in various grants to the city public library system (5 separate locations in our city). FOPAL helps the library buy books, DVDs, and other media for its collection. FOPAL also provides funds to support library reading groups, summer reading projects for children, software applications such as LINK+, and more. FOPAL has one paid Book Sale Manager. I've volunteered at FOPAL for 5-6 years myself. Personally, one of the surprising benefits for me has been the amount I've learned about books, publishing, first editions, etc. FOPAL has a subcategory for "high-value" books ($20 and up) which we sell on Amazon. Most of the books in our monthly sales are priced quite reasonably: $1 to $4 for hardbacks, 50 cents to $2 for paperbacks (depending on condition).