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Library Corner

June 9, 2011

You won't be barking up the wrong tree at the library

It's funny how expressions get started and then have a way of staying in our language, even when the original meaning is no longer pertinent.

"Barking up the wrong tree" originally meant exactly what it says, indicating that a dog was pointing and barking to the tree where the animal was located. Animals gradually became more skilled at eluding their hunters and learned to jump to other trees, leading dogs to bark at the wrong tree.

By 1832, there are several instances in literature where the meaning had changed. Davy Crockett was fond of the phrase, using it in his autobiography, and James Hall used it in his book, "Legends of the West."

So instead of telling someone he is "under an incorrect assumption," we just say you're "barking up the wrong tree." Much more poetic and creates an immediate picture in your head, wouldn't you say?

City Charter Available

Copies of the proposed Oneonta City Charter and a list of frequently asked questions and answers are available at the library.

This document has been nearly two years in the making and will be voted on by city residents at the November election.

You owe it to yourself to be fully informed on how the proposed city government structure will change.

Members of the commission will be out in the community talking to groups in the next few months about the charter. You can also view the charter online at along with the FAQs.

New Books

Lincoln O'Neill applied for a job as Internet security officer and had visions of protecting the newspaper firm from vicious hackers. In reality, his job is to monitor everyone's emails, and let employees know when they have violated the company's policies. Beth and Jennifer exchange personal messages all day long even though they know the policy, and Lincoln is supposed to turn them in, but he just can't bring himself to crack down on them. He's captivated by their stories and even finds himself falling in love with Beth. Should he approach her? Find out what he does in the novel "Attachments" by Rainbow Rowell.

A young woman has been found strangled at Mingo House, a brownstone museum in Boston. The curious thing, though, was that she was dressed in Victorian clothes, as if to attend a tea. The media name her the "Victorian Girl" and speculation abounds as to her identity. "A Pinchbeck Bride," a novel by Stephen Anable, finds the trustees of the museum worried about keeping the place open, while others believe the walls conceal treasure. Murders continue and the staff is terrified. Can anyone figure out what's going on in this place?

It's 1906 in New York City for Stefanie Pintoff's mystery novel "Secret of the White Rose." Judge Hugo Jackson is murdered the night before a jury is set to deliberate in a high profile case where he was presiding. Even though the police commissioner takes the case, Jackson's widow insists on calling in her husband's criminologist friend, Alistair Sinclair. He and detective Simon Ziele of the NYPD have to skirt past the force that is focused in only one direction to bring the killer to justice.

"Play Like You Mean It" by Rex Ryan takes readers behind the scenes of the New York Jets, where he is head coach. When he took the job in 2009, he quickly revived the team. They went to the AFC Championship Game in his first two years. The book gives information on the NFL, managers, players and his own style of management. Ryan loves the game, as you'll quickly discover in this frank look at football.

Library Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.

Marie Bruni is director of Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta. Her column appears in the community section of the Daily Star every Thursday. Her columns can be found online at

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