Residents cry foul over book bins | June 17, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - June 17, 2011

Residents cry foul over book bins

Charity book bins operated by for-profit company irk nonprofit library group and residents

by Sue Dremann

New book-donation bins that have popped up around Palo Alto and surrounding cities purporting to be for charity are really making money for a for-profit company, the nonprofit Friends of the Palo Alto Library claimed this week.

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Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be e-mailed at


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 17, 2011 at 8:24 am

Sounds to me like this is another example of the self-centered attitude that certain people in Palo Alto have. Are the Friends of the Palo Alto library against helping people outside our city? What is Winter Dellanbach's problem with this organization? Really. The attitudes here are sometimes unbelievable. I see FOPAL has a problem with this organization placing more than 1 million books in more than 140 organizations--after all a book or two may not get to the PA Library or may not be available for FOPAL to peddle.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2011 at 8:53 am

It used to be the case that donating unwanted "stuff" was fairly easy. Taking stuff to Goodwill was fairly easy and the only option.

Nowadays there are bins for unwanted stuff in many parking lots that take a lot more than just books. On top of that we constantly receive postcards from agencies that ask for goods or sometimes just shoes and ask us to put them on our curbs and they will be collected. A couple of weeks ago we had a blue card on a Tuesday for one charitable organisation and a yellow card on a Wednesday for another.

It must be worth their while to go to all this trouble. But, some investigative journalism on all of these might prove interesting.

Posted by Perspective, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 17, 2011 at 9:08 am

Another non-story. What, everyone who does anything with a charity must be a volunteer? Nobody can earn a living? If that were the case, there would be virtually no charities, anywhere. The trick is to choose a charity with the lowest amount taken off the top for salaries etc. In this case, these guys sell 25% of the books they gather as their fee. Don't know how much actual money that translates into for them and their employees, but good for them for figuring out a way to earn a living in this economy.

This looks like a lot of bitter,sour grapes to me, from a few folks upset that a few books may not make it to FOPAL.

Looks like a good cause to me.

Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 17, 2011 at 9:30 am

"But, some investigative journalism on all of these might prove interesting."

Including FOPAL

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2011 at 2:55 pm

And of course there are other bins for dropping up unwanted goods around town. There is one near Philz Coffee which has appeared recently.

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