Special Collections

Welcome to the Palo Alto Library Special Collections


Photo of Memorial Church, 1902

Local Interest Collections

The digital collection contains historical Palo Alto newspapers and locally-created unique content including photographs, writings, documents and other materials.
Full-text digital scans are searchable by keyword, name, place, and publishing year.


The physical collection contains books by Palo Alto residents or books about Palo Alto, many of which can be checked out.
Housed exclusively at the
Rinconada Library.
Historical Palo Alto newspapers on original microfilm also stored at
Rinconada Library, 1213 Newell Ave.

Foundation Center Logos

The Foundation Center Collection

The Palo Alto Library is a Funding Information Network (FIN) partner with the Foundation Center. As such, the Library has a collection of books on grants, philanthropy and forming a non-profit. You will also find access to the Foundation Directory, Grants to Individuals and Philanthropy In/Sight databases. The use of the online products is limited to within the Rinconada Library. Drop in for access and assistance!


"Welcome" in various languages

International Languages

Throughout the Palo Alto libraries you will find books, movies, children's books and audio books in a variety of languages other than English.
The larger collections are housed in Mitchell Park and Rinconada libraries, while Children's Library houses the largest collections for kids.


Seed Library

Palo Alto Seed Library

The Seed Library is a free community seed bank that is free to participate in. Seeds are available at Rinconada Library and can both be borrowed and donated. The Seed Library strives to develop a vibrant store of locally-adapted seeds. By saving seeds from the strongest, local plants each year, the Seed Library can produce local varieties that are far better suited to Palo Alto than store-purchased seeds. See our Seed Library brochure for more information.

Photo of Lucky Day collection on bookshelves

Lucky Day

Our “Lucky Day” collection has many new, bestselling books, DVDs & Blu-rays that aren't available for hold requests and sit on the shelf waiting for a lucky patron like you. Just walk in and check them out!
Enjoy up to 5 items (in any combination of formats) for up to 7 days. Regular overdue fees apply. Holds and renewals aren’t allowed.

Available at all library locations except Children's Library. Just look for selected titles with the red “Lucky Day” collection stickers on them, located on shelves near the entrance of every Palo Alto City library

Sponsored by the
Friends of Palo Alto Library

Palo Alto Flood Information

Palo Alto Flood Information Library

This contains Flood protection documents that answers many questions related to Flood Information, Flood Insurance Rate Map, Flood Zone Descriptions, Construction Methodology and Flood Protection for structures in a flood zone.


Last Updated: Oct 30, 2017