Great Courses

If you are the sort of person that loves learning but doesn’t love the prices that come with taking expensive college classes, the Berwyn Public Library is here for you!

Here in the Audio Visual Department, we have offered Great Courses for patrons for awhile. These Great Courses are extensive classes in audio and visual format. Each course is designed by professors that are experts in their subjects. The professors chosen to design a course are screened not just for their academic achievement, but also their ability to make a lecture entertaining.

If making the trip to the library isn’t something you can fit in a schedule at the moment, Great Courses are now offered on Hoopla as audio-books. There are hundreds of courses offered through the site on everything from how to write mystery fiction to robotics to the history of Greek and Roman technology. If you prefer to listen to them at home, they can of course be streamed on a desktop but if you would prefer on the go listening, they can be streamed through the Hoopla app as well.

Great Courses audio-books are available for rent for 21 days through Hoopla. This means that from the moment you click the “borrow” button, the book will appear in your “Currently Borrowed” section for the next 21 days. After 21 days, it disappears. If you have not finished it on time, you can always borrow it again. Patrons who have a hoopla account through the Berwyn Public Library are allowed to borrow up to eight titles in a single month.

Simply log onto Hoopla with your account email and password, type “great courses” in the search bar and then get to learning! If there is a specific subject you would like to look into, just type the subject in the bar and look for a Great Courses entry. If this is your first time trying Hoopla and you are a bit confused, try going here first for a step by step on how to sign up with the site.

Grace VanderWaal – Just the Beginning

Vanderwaal_just the beginning

Album Review – By Sandra Neri

I will admit that when the America’s Got Talent contest series first premiered, some 11 years ago, I thought it was a passing trend. I also got tired of watching my favorite contestants lose. In 2016, Grace VanderWaal won that season, she was 12 years old. She won over Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell with her Ukulele playing and her hypnotic voice. That voice, so full of passion and maturity, for such a young girl. I had not heard of VanderWaal until I browsed the list of new album releases on Spotify, as I was looking for something to review.

Immediately following AGT, VanderWaal created the concept for the video for her song ‘Moonlight’. She won ‘Best New Artist’ at the Radio Disney Awards. She was nominated for a Teen Choice Award. In October 2017, Grace performed at the Austin City Limits Fest in Texas. In November, fans lined up around a venue in NYC as she performed her first concert ever. She was also honored at Billboard’s Annual Women in Music dinner and awards ceremony. Did I mention she’s 13 years old?

But what does she sound like you ask. VanderWaal has a folksy, yet angelic harmony in her voice. This is complimented perfectly by her ukulele playing. The song Grace sang on America’s Got Talent, I don’t know my name, is her original song. Shortly after that performance, many regular YouTubers uploaded videos of themselves covering her original. The song I don’t know my name is about a young girl finding her way. Track #5, So Much More Than This, is full of the familiar pre-teen angst of not being accepted…that is until you win something like AGT. Track #11, City Song is probably my favorite so far, this tune is filled with the vigor, optimism, and unwavering hope of someone who is grabbing life by the balls. My second favorite track is #3 Burned, seems to be a warning to a boy who is getting into more than he can handle. But the words she sings, and the way they pour out of her is truly a beautiful thing, and I am an instant fan.

Simon Cowell called VanderWaal “The next Taylor Swift”, but I am someone who has never really connected to Taylor’s music, and yet I am somehow very moved by Grace. I think she has universal appeal, as if she is singing my personal song, with emotions and angst we have all felt at one time or another. The album’s title says it all, ‘Just the Beginning’, yes, indeed it is.


Album Song List:

  1. Moonlight
  2. Sick of Being Told
  3. Burned
  4. Just A Crush
  5. So Much More Than This
  6. Escape My Mind
  7. Talk Good
  8. Florets
  9. Insane Sometimes
  10. A Better Life
  11. City Song
  12. Darkness Keeps Chasing Me