Back in the day, at a different branch, I had a poster on my office window where the public could see it. It simply recommended a book or other library item that I thought was worth a recommendation. I called that poster Dr. Gonzo Recommends because Dr. Gonzo is my nickname around here and I figured it sounded like a better title than Dan Recommends. When I changed branches and started working here in Lake Woebegone, AZ I stopped doing it mostly because I don’t have an office with a public window.

However, inspired by my colleague who turns out not one, but two, library newsletters on a regular basis, I decided to try my hand at the game. I simply passed the name from that poster onto title of the newsletter. Since my friend is handling What We’re Reading This Week and Writer’s Almanac, I wanted to take on an area that wasn’t covered and that area is new arrivals to our system. Now these items may not be brand new, hot off the presses things. In many cases they’re older things that we didn’t own until recently. So the newsletter can be a mix of new, bestseller type items and “new to us” stuff. (If that makes any sense at all.)

I wanted it to look kinda snazzy and eye catching since my idea was to hang it on the new item bookshelves as well as posting it online. So I decided to go the FLOSS route and use as much free and open source software as I could to produce the thing. That wasn’t too hard actually, and it was a good exercise in seeing what’s available and what you can do in the realm of FLOSS publishing for libraries. In this instance, I use a notebook running Windows 7, but that’s merely the OS. For the production of the newsletter I used OpenOffice for copy editing. Layout and desktop publishing was handled by Scribus. Web access came through Firefox and Google Chrome.

After the initial pain in the ass that is laying out a new page for text and graphics, I got something I really liked and started working with it. I snagged new item informaiton from the library’s RSS feeds and compiled it all together in a three page newsletter.

So ladies and gentlemen, here’s the newest, and first, issue of Dr. Gonzo Recommends!