Frequently Asked Questions
- Could someone clarify the member discount?
- Are there evening hours at the BookStore?
- I’m looking for a particular book (or author), but I can’t come every day to see if you have it yet.
- I noticed you have “back stock” in the office—when are those books shelved in the store and/or is it possible to browse on the office shelves?
- When are gift certificates available?
- I frequently donate magazines. What happens to those?
- What happens to my donated books?
- How much do the books cost?
- What do the colored dots on the spines mean?
- When is the Café open?
- What forms of payment do you accept?
- Where do I get a library card?
Members of the Friends of the Castro Valley Library receive a membership card that is good for either one year (until September 30th of the current membership year) or a lifetime (if you enrolled at that level). The cards are issued at the BookStore/Office or at our Book Sales. Members enrolling by mail will need to stop by the BookStore/Office to pick up their cards. All members, new and renewing, will be issued new cards each year.
Lifetime Membership Cards are mailed or can be picked up at the BookStore.
This card identifies you, lists the expiration date, and entitles you to discounts at the Friends BookStore and at Book Sales.
On the back of each card are images of books, each representing a $1 discount on purchases of individual items. Individual, family and youth members receive 7 discounts; lifetime, benefactor, and corporate sponsor receive 14 discounts. The discounts can be used all at once or singly. As the discounts are used, the book images on the back of the membership card will be deleted with a line drawn through them. On the back are also three coupons for discounts at our Winter, Spring and Summer Book Sales.
Keep your membership cards even though you have used up your BookStore discounts to use for Members Only entry at the first night of each Book Sale and to take advantage of the Book Sale coupons on the back of your membership card.
The BookStore is open until 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, thanks to the generosity of our volunteers.
If we don't have the book you are looking for, the BookStore staff is happy to take requests based on title or subject matter. We are not able to take requests such as "any book by Nora Roberts" or "any book by James Patterson" because the sheer volume of books by some authors would take up a prohibitive amount of our time – and yours. Requests are held for 30 days, at which time you are welcome to renew your request. Our staff will check incoming donations for your item and give you a call if the book comes in. We can then hold the book for you for 7 days. Notifications can only be provided within the 510 area code.
The office area is reserved for staff only. Sorry, but non-staff cannot search the shelves in the office. There are designated volunteers for each subject section, and those volunteers typically move books from the office stock to the BookStore shelves at least once or twice a week, as space becomes available. Books are cleaned, stickers removed, and repairs made if needed before the books are placed on the BookStore shelves. If you’re looking for a certain book or author, please ask at the window about the request log.
Certificates/cards are available for birthdays, graduations, retirement, teacher recognition, or any other year-round occasion. Please ask at the window or review the Gift Certificates/Gift Cards page for more information.
Many of the magazines are sold in the BookStore, particularly those that are very current or for which we have a high request rate. If the BookStore cannot use them or isn’t able to sell them, some magazines (and also books) are passed on to local hospitals and nonprofit organizations for use by their clientele; so their usefulness is continued throughout the community. Just as a reminder, with few exceptions, the BookStore does not take magazines older than about six months. Please feel free to ask us if you have any questions about magazine donations.
Donated books, particularly those still on the best-seller list or those that have value as classics, could become part of the library’s collection. The library staff reviews books that come into the BookStore to determine if they can be added to the collection. We cannot guarantee that any donated book will appear on a library shelf despite the wishes of the donor.
In addition, the BookStore staff frequently cross-checks the library’s inventory and number of “holds” on popular books. In this way, some of the donated books do go into the library’s collection, either as additional copies or to replace books which are worn or damaged. If the book is not needed by the library, it is sold in the BookStore or at one of the periodic Book Sales. The revenue from sales is used for a variety of library programs, furnishings, equipment, and—yes—books !
A general price list is posted on the end caps of the shelving units. Examples of typical book store prices are: Hardback $2; “trade” paperback (the larger paperbacks) $1; mass market paperback 75¢. Children’s books are 25¢ and 50¢. Some books, such as large format art books, antiquarian books, or very new books, are marked with special price.
In order to keep the BookStore stock fresh, the books are marked with a colored dot that denotes the month the book was placed on the shelf. If a book remains for several months, it may be removed and placed in storage for the next Book Sale, placed on the “honesty” shelves, or returned to the BookStore at a later date.
The Café is not open at the present time. The BookStore and the Café are separate entities, so we don’t always have specific information about the Café.
The BookStore accepts only cash and local checks (with I.D.). We are not able to accept credit or debit cards. Due to the relatively low dollar volume of sales and the fact that we start out with only a small amount of change at the beginning of each volunteer shift, we sometimes have trouble breaking a $20 bill, and unfortunately, we are never able to accept $50 or $100 bills. We are happy to hold a book for you if you need to get change.
We are able to accept credit or debit cards at our Book Sales.
We appreciate everyone's patience and understanding.
While the BookStore is located within the library, we are a separate entity and don’t have the ability to issue library cards or provide any of the other services that are the purview of the Castro Valley Library itself. However, the library staff is more than happy to help you obtain a library card, locate a particular book, use the computers, or find information on the many library programs; you just need to ask at their information desk.