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Palo Alto residents cry foul over book bins

Original post made on Jun 17, 2011

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.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 17, 2011, 9:21 AM

Comments (45)

Posted by Oh-NO!--Competiton, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:16 am

Sounds like the Friends of the Library are concerned about the loss of political clout that have managed to inflict on the Palo Alto Libraries, via their recycling taxpayer funded books (as well as private collectors' books), and then claiming to be a "major stakeholder" of the library--demanding Staff do this, that, or the other

Here's a link to the Reading Tree site-

The Reading Tree:
Web Link

People interested in knowing more about their finances, can contact this organization and ask.


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:22 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 George K., a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:39 am

The real problem with these bins is that borrowing books from them is very, very dangerous. I was trying to get a charity book out and my head was stuck in the door. They need to make them safer for members of the community.


Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:52 am

>>> Critics of the blue, metal bins said the company, Thrift Recycling Management LLC, is preying on the kindness of residents who donate books believing the reading materials are going to a nonprofit cause. Instead, the company is using a nonprofit organization, Reading Tree, as a front and is making millions of dollars from the donations, they said.


So, these bins ought to be labelled with what they are ... this is not about competition or the sillness described above. Why should people be able to solicit donations and then make money of them under false pretenses?


Posted by Wha?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:57 am

The Friends of the PA Library provide thousands of dollars to fund materials and programs for YOUR community and YOUR kids. They are not trying to take money from charities, but they are trying to keep Palo Alto Library going strong during a tough economy.


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:58 am

Let's remember that the complaints are coming from people who are afraid of competition.
From the article:
"An 8 1/2 by 11 label describes where the donations will go: to needy schools in the area. "Unusable books are recycled ... or sold by our recycling partners in part to pay for our programs and in part to pay for services in connection with our book collection efforts," the Reading Tree sign notes. "

Sounds to me like they are upfront about where the books end up.

Also from the article;
"A 2009 income-tax exemption form filed by Reading Tree showed the nonprofit places more than 1 million books in more than 140 organizations."

So FOPAL has a problem with this?


Posted by Karen White, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 17, 2011 at 11:21 am

Remembering all the discussion and debate about news racks a while ago, I'm wondering by what authority the for-profit Thrift Recycling Management LLC has installed book-collection bins around town. I'd think the Planning Department might be asked for input here. If permissible, maybe FOPAL should do the same!


Posted by Support corruption!, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2011 at 11:38 am

Once again svatoid has no problem with corruption and deception. He twists the discussion to some detail that he distorts, other than the central subject. And attacks the people who speak up.
Keep it up, svatoid, we need people to support corruption! How awful it would be if everyone was honest.


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 17, 2011 at 11:46 am

"Once again svatoid has no problem with corruption and deception."
You claim corruption and deception--what exactly is the example of corruption and deception you are talking about.

"He twists the discussion to some detail that he distorts, other than the central subject. "
What detail am I distorting? I am offering my opinion on the matter

Please provide some proof for your claims, Support corruption.


Posted by TY, a resident of another community
on Jun 17, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I think this is a case where the library needs to get a legitimate retailer such as Half Price Books and get their huge resources behind exposing this fake "charity". Organizations such as Reading Tree need to be exposed as a front for a "for profit" business. They hurt real charities and legitimate businesses alike. Another fake "charity" doing the same thing is Better World Books. Another fake exists on the east coast, Boston, I believe.


Posted by bikes2work, a resident of Santa Rita (Los Altos)
on Jun 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Let's remember the three R's here. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. People are dropping books in these bins so that they get reused. They aren't asking for a receipt to deduct on their taxes. These bins facilitate reuse. Reuse is what the original book owner wants. I don't see the problem. Some of us don't have time or space to deal with yard sales. If FOPAL wants more books, put your own bins around town.


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm

"get their huge resources behind exposing this fake "charity". Organizations such as Reading Tree need to be exposed as a front for a "for profit" business."
Can you provide some proof for the claims that they are a fake "charity" and a for profit business


Posted by Aleks, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 17, 2011 at 12:40 pm

I saw a book donation bin by Safeway. I'll still support FOPAL, but I am mightily tempted by the convenience of the 24hr nearby dropoff.


Posted by jim schmidt, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 17, 2011 at 1:10 pm

I am currently the President of the Friends of the Palo Alto Library (FOPAL). To clear up an impression in other posts: FOPAL's monthly booksales are NOT primarily (less than 10%)of books from the PA Library.
The blue bins may result in fewer items for FOPAL to resell, and thus may result in less money for FOPAL to donate to the Library.


Posted by Oh-NO!-Competition, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2011 at 1:16 pm

> Remembering all the discussion and debate about news racks a while
> ago

Which was about censoring the Daily News and then the Daily Post.

> I'm wondering by what authority the for-profit Thrift Recycling
> Management LLC has installed book-collection bins around town.

American .. home of the free and land of the brave .. NOT! OMG!! Why would anyone need a "permit" to pickup books/paper to be recycled?

Another example of "the Palo Alto Process" as a tool to shut down free enterprise, and competition.

> less money for the Palo Alto library ..

So what?


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 17, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Free enterprise and competition generally owns or rents their places of business and ultimately pays taxes on the land used. It's an unfair advantage to set up permanent shop on the public right of way which is maintained by our tax dollars. (News-stands get into 1st amendment issues, which I suppose cover real estate advertising and "escort services" tabloids.)


Posted by Paula, a resident of another community
on Jun 17, 2011 at 4:51 pm

While I support the idea of recycling, I'd prefer to think that my books will be read, rather than pulped, and that I can track where the donation I am making will really go, hopefully into the local community. I'd rather my books go to fellow booklovers for affordable prices, or to supporting children's programs, book exchange programs, and collections at local Palo Alto libraries.


Posted by Oh-NO!-Competition, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2011 at 8:13 am

> It's an unfair advantage to set up permanent shop on the public
> right of way which is maintained by our tax dollars.

Does that include the use of public land for the FOPAL book collection/storage activities on the Cubberley site?

Once again, Winter Dellenbach, Karen White, and FOPAL are trying to treat the good people of Palo Alto as if they were children. If people want to give their books to FOPAL, they will give them to FOPAL, if they want to give them to Reading Tree, they will find a "Blue Box", and if they want them to go to recycling, they will use curb-side pickup. It's really that simple. No one is preying on anyone. If Palo Alto doesn't contribute to the blue boxes, they will be moved to someplace that will.


Posted by Support corruption!, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Oh-NO: FOPAL pays rent to the city for the space they use as Cubberley just like all the other organizations there.
Why would you want to encourage competition to a nonprofit that makes money for the city libraries, so as to benefit an organization that has a complicated and somewhat questionable structure.
Is competition your religious belief?


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 18, 2011 at 5:36 pm

"Why would you want to encourage competition..." That's an easy one - so people have more choices. That's usually the reason we encourage competition, in businesses as well as charities. Don't like FOPAL or think they are inconvenient? Great, here's another option.

Generally the salable books that go to for-profit books sellers (including many that go to Goodwill, that are often sold to those for-profits by the trailer-load) wind up being sold on Amazon. To the extent people being able to buy low-cost used books is a societal benefit, they provide that, vs. a local seller who sells to a very limited local audience. Let a hundred flowers bloom, I say.


Posted by Perspective, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 18, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Somehow there are 2 threads with the same subject running, so I will add my post here from the other one.

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 Oh-NO!-Competition, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2011 at 7:34 am

> Why would you want to encourage competition to a nonprofit that
> makes money for the city libraries

Because it is my right to do so. Because FOPAL is overbearing, and has for too long used its small contributions to advance its own political agenda in this town. Because the space it uses is subsidized by the taxpayers. Because FOPAL is standing in the way of progress.

> Another non-story

Ditto..

What's interesting here is the Weekly will run a "non-story" about the angry FOPAL members screaming "foul" because their is another group picking up books in town, but it wouldn't run a story about the group with the blue boxes on its own. Kind of makes one wonder what good the Weekly is, outside of being a PR outlet for certain groups in town.


Posted by Carol Scott Zimmerman, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2011 at 9:51 am

I donate to dozens of non-profit organizations. Before I donate, I want to be sure that the organization is a legitimate non-profit and that approx. 85% of my donation goes to benefit the cause as advertised. In the case of Reading Tree, the signs attached to the blue bins sound good. Books for needy children all over the world. I'm in favor of that. The problem for me is that minimal investigation shows Reading Tree uses maybe 25% of their donations for the "good cause." 75% of the benefit goes to TRM, a for-profit corporation that uses Reading Tree as a front. That seems fraudulent and deceptive.

If you want to read a sign and accept what it says uncritically, that's your choice. I find it curious, however, that you react with anger when other people choose to investigate and share the facts they uncover.


Posted by Carol Scott Zimmerman, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2011 at 9:58 am

FYI, full disclosure after posting my earlier comment:

I'm a proud volunteer at Friends of the Library (FOPAL). The other 100-plus volunteers are people I admire, trust, and enjoy working with. And we work hard! Before you buy into accusations that FOPAL pushes people around, PLEASE come to Cubberley and sign up to volunteer yourself. It's fun and satisfying, and we donate hundreds of thousands of $$ to the Library. Join us. If you love books and people, you can't do better than FOPAL.


Posted by melonjoe, a resident of University South
on Jun 19, 2011 at 6:33 pm

The hullabaloo over the fact that a used book collection program that gives books to poor kids (including kids at local East Bay schools) is administered by a non-local charity is needless. Fighting over who gets a bigger or smaller share of charity donations seems like petty territorialism.

The fact of the matter is that a large, multi-state company that specializes in selling and recycling used books and that partners with a major supermarket chain like Safeway is well-positioned to collect a large number of children's books and to make enough money from selling non-children's books in order to cover the cost of collection and distribution expenses.

One completely "pure" way to fix this poor-kids-don't-have-enough-books program is to round up used children's books from your own personal library and drive them over to a family with young kids that lives below the poverty line. This is great, but charity on a small-scale. Plus you might not happen to have connections with the kinds of kids who need books. More large-scale, systematic efforts take a lot more money and resources: bins, trucks, truck drivers, sorters, etc. These economies of scale are what underlie the recently reported 2,500 books that Reading Tree donated to the Oakland elementary school.

The numbers seem to show that the share of the profits that the company takes back to pay for its services are comparable to the ratio of monies that large, multi-state nonprofits like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army take back from donations to pay for operating costs. In most large-scale operations for charitable purposes, there's some level of profit-making that facilitates donations where there's need.

Please, let's not get territorial about who's allowed to do good in our community, but find ways in which we can work together according to our strengths. The problems of poverty and illiteracy are big enough to share with everyone.


Posted by Carol Scott Zimmerman, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2011 at 8:28 pm

It seems Safeway has severed ties with Reading Tree. The books collected in the 80 or so boxes at Safeway stores will be sorted first for distribution to East Bay schoolchildren, then the battered/torn books will be removed for recycling (paper pulp, not landfill), and the remaining books will be offered to local Friends of the Library groups in the East Bay.

If you want to defend the behavior of Thrift Recycling Management as innocent, wholesome capitalism, go ahead. Safeway is not listening, however.

By the way, I do buy children's books (at Kepler's, my favorite bookstore) and give them to other people's children. More than that, I volunteer as a cashier in the Children's Book Sale at Cubberley every month, always a highlight of my month -- watching children (and parents) cruise the bookshelves, fall for specific books, and bring them to me for purchase. One mom and her young son paid for about 6 beautiful books on various subjects and left the sale room smiling; I heard the mother say as they walked through the parking lot, "Now remember, you can't just sit around reading books all the time...." There's a happy problem to worry a parent: A child who loves to read. I repeat: Join the volunteers at FOPAL. See what we're up to.


Posted by Circle the wagons, a resident of Community Center
on Jun 19, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Looks like the FOPAL gang is circling the wagons. Someone is daring to challenge their stranglehold on used books in palo alto. How dare anyone give a used book to a charity (and since when are our liberties considered to be a charitable organization). I guess the big money bond we gave them is not enough.


Posted by Karen Bobonich, a resident of Stanford
on Jun 19, 2011 at 9:32 pm

okay, here's another perspective. I'm a FOPAL volunteer, and my main thing is to make sure as few books as possible are pulped, and that as many as possible go to nonprofits or other good destinations - so I volunteer in the Bargain Room of the fopal sales. Here's the sequence:

first, books go through a sale (Main Room, Bargain Room, and kids'room). the proceeds go to the PA libraries; I'm pretty sure that we only have one paid person (the sale manager), so a really high percentage of the money goes to . . . the PA libraries. which I admire, and use once in a while, but they're not my reason for volunteering.

THEN (and this is what I care about), ANY nonprofit from ANYWHERE can stop by after the monthly sale, and take what they want from the leftovers at the Bargain Room. We have people taking books for prisons, for shipping to the Philippines, for selling at other friends of the library sales in less wealthy parts of the state, plus of course lots of schoolteachers, plus university libraries in China. we give away at least 5,000 books per month that way.

THEN (and this I also care about), in the past, St. Vincent picked up our final leftovers. They stopped, and then a books scavenger grabbed them to give them a new life in the East Bay. But recently, we've been having "free nights", advertised on Craigslist and PA freecycle. ANYONE can come in and take the remaining books, magazines, tapes. Hundreds of people show up, from as far away as San Jose and the East Bay, and EVERYTHING goes; well, maybe one percent remains.

The org. that puts out the bins (some big waste company) says that they pulp about HALF of what they are given. I presume that they grab the stuff they can sell online and easily give away, and pulp the rest. Well, if you need to make a profit, I suppose you need to do that. Anything else is really labor intensive. But we have enough volunteers, who are book obsessed enough, that we can try to place every book. In years gone by it was apparently a lot harder; the economic boom made tattered old books undesirable. But for good and ill, they're wanted now, and we don't waste them.

Please pass the word re our monthly nonprofit night (the Sunday of the monthly sale, from 4-6 p.m.; details on FOPAL's website). And keep an eye on Craigslist for the free nights; we've been having them whenever we accumulate enough leftovers.

I'm not a PA resident, and neither are a number of the other volunteers; I have negative interest in PA politics; this is my way of placing books, and the other Bargain Room volunteers have the same goal.

btw, I have no idea what other "friends" groups do with their leftover books. we'd happily take them, if they don't have a use for them.


Posted by One Man, a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2011 at 10:10 pm

I encourage you FOPAL folks to keep up the good work you do. Seems to be that people who limit their activism to commenting on news articles see the negative in everything.



Posted by Lisa, a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Why should FOPAL have a monopoly on all used books in the area. I think it's great that there are people out there who are working to keep books out of landfills and into the hands of people, especially children who need them. What about kids whose parents don't take them to the libraries, or who don't live near a library? These are the children that Reading Tree reaches that FOPAL doesn't. I don't see a problem with it being associated with a for-profit company. Not many people can work a 40 hour week for free. It takes A LOT of people to run an organization that collects and distributes this many books for charity. There has to be money to support the charity and what a clever way for them to be self supporting (rather than relying on donations). By selling the books on Amazon that children don't need, they can make the money needed to get the books the children do need to the children who need them. Thank you Thrift Recycling and Reading Tree for doing so much good.


Posted by Oh-NO!-Competition, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2011 at 9:57 am

> If you want to defend the behavior of Thrift Recycling Management
> as innocent, wholesome capitalism, go ahead. Safeway is not
> listening, however.

So .. where is the press release announcing this severing of ties?

It was just a couple of weeks ago that Safeway was involved in a large public event with Reading Tree and the City of Oakland:

Safeway, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and City Council President Larry Reid to Announce Book Donation, Mentoring & Literacy Program for Oakland/ Northern California Schools on Wednesday, June 8:

Web Link

So .. what is Safweay's reason for backing out after less than three weeks of "partnership"?

> Save books from being pulped.

Well .. most old books have virtually no retail value, and it's hard o claim that they have much value at all. From walking through any library, or book store, the most books seem to have singular focus, and probably don't have any value other than to people will a similar focus. It's a wonder than any publisher would risk one thin dime on most books that are printed.

A much better solution, now underway by various groups like Google/Books, the Internet Archive, and some academic libraries (including the Library of Congress) is to scan a single copy of each old book, and then make that copy available over the Internet/web. Every one in the world can get access to these old books (presumably out of copyright), so that all of unnecessary work of moving, collecting, and redistributing, books can cease--leaving individuals, and schools, free to download every thing that was printed (eventually).

Google now claims over 15M books scanned, with upwards of 3M on-line. The Internet Archive (a non-profit, on-line library), has upwards of 3M books available. Additionally, the Internet Archive has recordings, videos, and other items of cultural interest, that are available for perusal, and downloading.

The publishing industry admits that within a decade, e-books will be half of their business. (Some predict it will be more.) Given the low cost of providing old books to people who have interest in such things--it's clear that libraries should be working with digitizers--not people like FOPAL, that clearly does not have any idea what is going on outside its own limited view of the world.

Ole Mr. Guttenberg's time is just about up. There is more competition on the horizon than Reading Tree.


Posted by Carol Scott Zimmerman, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2011 at 11:29 am

> So .. what is Safweay's [sic] reason for backing out after less than three weeks of "partnership"?

A spokesperson for Safeway wrote this comment in response to another article about the Reading Tree and TRM:

"I want to assure all customers that Safeway is controlling the donation/distribution of these books. I cannot speak for how Reading Tree operates in other states - but I can tell you the intent of the program in Northern California. ... We take the trust and the donations of our customers very seriously. We want this to be a positive program that benefits all local communities."

and here's another relevant comment from Safeway:

"We've already asked Reading Tree to remove their signs. Safeway signs... will be placed on the bins...."

I am aware of current plans to scan books--for archives and to create digital books for iPad etc. No problemo. On the other hand, printed books are not valueless yet. Look at Amazon. Look at the $1 million FOPAL has given the Palo Alto Library in the past 6 or 7 years, raised from sales of used books. Look at TRM's stated ambition to expand, collecting and selling used books around the world. Look at the $8.5 million they got from a venture capitalist to finance their plans.
Some of the books FOPAL receives in donations are rare and beautiful works of art. You wouldn't devalue a Stradivarius because you've got Garage Band on your Macintosh, would you? Seems to me e-books and printed books can coexist.


Posted by FOPAL Volunteer, a resident of Community Center
on Jun 20, 2011 at 12:03 pm

To Oh-NO!-Competition

You are making uninformed assumptions.

FOPAL is and has worked with both Google and the Internet Archive sending them many books and recordings for archiving. We also have a great relationship with the Computer History Museum as well as a couple of individuals who have a grass-roots campaign to scan old computer and electronics manuals making them available online.


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 20, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Something does not sound right about Ms Zimmermann's posts, especially that she does not provide any links for her claims and quotes.

She initially states:
"It seems Safeway has severed ties with Reading Tree. The books collected in the 80 or so boxes at Safeway stores will be sorted first for distribution to East Bay schoolchildren, then the battered/torn books will be removed for recycling (paper pulp, not landfill), and the remaining books will be offered to local Friends of the Library groups in the East Bay."

Then she now states:
""We've already asked Reading Tree to remove their signs. Safeway signs... will be placed on the bins....""

Safeway is taking Reading Tree's bins? But the books collected in Palo Alto will still not make it to FOPAL--wasn't that the issue to begin with? is FOPAL no longer uspet?
Please provide us with some links for all these stories.


Posted by Carol Scott Zimmerman, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2011 at 1:49 pm

>Safeway is taking Reading Tree's bins? But the books collected in Palo Alto will still not make it to FOPAL--wasn't that the issue to begin with? is FOPAL no longer uspet?

First, the bins belong to TRM which distributes them. The signs on the bins name Reading Tree as the group that does all the good deeds. Safeway informed people they would put their own labels on the bins, replacing the Reading Tree signs. Wait and see?

And no, the issue for FOPAL wasn't that Palo Alto books would go somewhere else. We were concerned that the good people of Palo Alto, generous to a fault, would donate books to Reading Tree not knowing about the TRM connection. The objection is that most of the donated books are sold on Amazon for TRM's profit. A small percentage, if any, go to the children who need them. The recent donation to schools in the East Bay was under the auspices of Safeway, and Safeway has been entirely ethical in their intentions for the donated books. That includes being ready to offer "leftover" books to various Friends groups in Northern California (not just to FOPAL).

Links? Article in the Daily (Mercury News) about the blue bins, followed by comments including one from Safeway spokesperson. Use Google.
In the past few days all the web content on the Thrift Recycling Management site has been removed, leaving a single paragraph. Google them.


Posted by Karen Bobonich, a resident of Stanford
on Jun 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I've noticed that the people supporting FOPAL are posting under their own actual names, while those supporting Thrift Recycling Management are posting under nom de plumes. I wonder whether some of these anonymous posters are affiliated with TRM. Anyone's entitled to post, of course, but it seems a little unfair to have the anonymous attacking the open and named.



"Save books from being pulped.

Well .. most old books have virtually no retail value, and it's hard o claim that they have much value at all."

Wow, that's a horrible way to view old books. Many things that have no retail value - pets, children's art, family photos - have aesthetic or emotional or historical value. Many old books fall into that category. When people donate their books (to a TRM bin, or to FOPAl), I doubt they are expecting that they have a 50/50 chance of being pulped, which is what TRM's own stated ratio is. If the donors don't care, I guess that it's okay - although it seems a real shame, since the books are almost all wanted. FOPAL places a very, very high percentage of them.

Re the "end of books": people still love LPS - which we sell in the Bargain Room!!! We have hundreds of old LPs; more come in every month, and they sell well, and are also taken by eager folks on "free night." Just because there are new technologies, why should they be "pulped?"


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 20, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Ms Zimmermann:
you stated:
"And no, the issue for FOPAL wasn't that Palo Alto books would go somewhere else. We were concerned that the good people of Palo Alto, generous to a fault, would donate books to Reading Tree not knowing about the TRM connection.'

If you check the original weekly article it states:
"The Friends of the Palo Alto Library, which has been investigating Thrift Recycling and Reading Tree, runs its own book sales to raise funds for city libraries. Jim Schmidt, the Friends' president, said his group has contributed $2 million in the past 10 years. He worries that any donations to the blue bins will effectively take money away from the local library system. It is still too early to tell if donations to Reading Tree will impact the Friends' sales efforts, said book-sale manager Jerry Stone.
Hincy didn't think so, since Reading Tree's focus is on schools and Thrift Recycling sells mostly technical books no one wants at library book sales.
But Stone isn't so sure.
"It may be hurting us more than we know," he said."

So there is a concern about impacts on FOPAL. Maybe you and Stone should get together and decide what FOPAL is really concerned about.


"Links? Article in the Daily (Mercury News) about the blue bins, followed by comments including one from Safeway spokesperson. Use Google."
Usually on this forum when one rely's on articles to bolster their argument they post a link to what they are quoting. I did use Google and can find no reference to your claims regarding Safeway, their comments on this matter or the sign issues on the bins.
Pelase provide links to these claims as a common courtesy to readers


Posted by Karen Bobonich, a resident of Stanford
on Jun 20, 2011 at 3:49 pm

svatoid, FOPAL consists of a bunch of volunteers (and a paid book sale manager), each of whom has a different perspective, and a different reason for volunteering. Scottie ("Ms. Zimmerman") is posting about what she cares about. I'm posting what I care about (avoiding having books be pulped, if someone might want them). Why not post your real name, and tell us what you really care about here, and then we can try to figure out a way forward? If what you want is absolute unanimity and consistency from a group of individual volunteers, you're out of luck, I'm afraid.


Posted by Karen Bobonich, a resident of Stanford
on Jun 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm

besides, svatoid, you should stop by one of our "free nights." It might cheer you up; they're kind of festive.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 20, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Karen, I am always surprised when people who seem to want to take the high road get snooty. Why do they bother? But implying that anonymous posters are shills for your opponent (without any evidence) or that another poster could stand some cheering up or that posters should use their real names (esp those like svatoid who consistently use a single pseudonym) - there's no need for that, in my opinion. Let's each state our case and let it stand on its merits.

I post anonymously, but no, I'm not a shill for Thrift Recycling; I tend to think they are a bit of a scam, as others have pointed out. I'm not much in love with FOPAL either, not because of their work in book sales, but from their agenda with the libraries, which I have often disagreed with.

Svatoid, thanks for the logical and sometimes informative posts. Keep up the good work.


Posted by Carol Scott Zimmerman, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2011 at 5:47 pm

I used my real name because I wanted to meet this forum as a real person, nothing to hide. That doesn't mean that people who use nicknames do have something to hide. It's just my personal choice (and Karen's).

I'm checking out of this discussion. Remember, "On the Internet nobody knows you're a dog."


Posted by Karen Bobonich, a resident of Stanford
on Jun 20, 2011 at 5:55 pm

hi Me Too - I'll let you have the last word:):):):):).


Posted by Bikes2work, a resident of Santa Rita (Los Altos)
on Jun 20, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Me? I'm going to go sell my used books to Mountain View Bookbuyers at 317 Castro. Web Link


Posted by Svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 20, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Anyone still wonder why I have my reservations about FOPAL? After reading carol and karen's comments, it is clear to me that they have a sense of bring better than everyone else-it is their way or the highway.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 21, 2011 at 12:40 am

Yeah, clearly Karen doesn't like svatoid & some other people who disagree who have smarts, logical parsing or ability to form their own opinion, even if it doesn't dovetail w/PC FOPAL. I have no problems w/FOPAL & have always had admiration for them. Of course, these posts & this article make me view them a tad more cynically now, because some of them are not coming across very well, in the article or on this thread.

Yeah, like svatoid's anyone's shill! Not a fan of people trying to get other posters to cheer up or use real names, either. Our privacy & safety are crucial & more important then their desire to know who posters are. Our moods are our own; stop the condescension, please, if you want to maintain your supporters here, FOPAL.


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