New CountyCat FAQs

We hope you enjoy the new CountyCat catalog experience available to all of the public libraries of the Milwaukee County Federated Library System. Below are some commonly asked questions for first time users.

Why did you change the catalog?

The new CountyCat is a more modern, user-friendly tool that makes finding materials easier.  You can expect the functionality you are used to in terms of searching, placing holds and managing your library account.  In addition, CountyCat now:

  • showcases unique items like our Library of Things
  • groups all formats of a title together so you can quickly see the item you want
  • displays your Libby reading history
  • allows you to manage family library accounts and pay fines all in one place 
  • displays search suggestions to help guide you to titles

Do I need to register for a new library account?

No. Your current library account has already migrated to the new catalog. Your barcode or username and PIN remains the same.  You just need to log into CountyCat as you have before.  

Can I do all the same things I used to do?

In almost all cases, yes!  While CountyCat looks different, you are still able to perform searches, limit results, place holds and manage your account.  In addition, there are new features which allow you to:

  • View multiple formats of a title together to easily see what's available (called record grouping)
  • Browse collections online through cover images
  • Link family accounts together to manage checkouts, holds and renewals
  • Pay fines online for all linked library accounts

Some of you may miss the book or shopping cart feature from the old catalog. To assist you, staff made a help sheet to show what you can do in this CountyCat catalog

What about my lists and reading history?

You can transfer both your reading history and saved lists to CountyCat.  To transfer an existing reading history from the old catalog, you need to have opted into that feature.  If you had been using the reading history feature in the old catalog, it means you opted in. 

View Reading History help guide
View Import Saved Lists help guide

If you do not have any saved lists or a reading history from the old catalog, not to worry. CountyCat gives you the chance to start using both!

How is the CountyCat Mobile app impacted?

The CountyCat Mobile app remains the same and does not overlap with the new CountyCat desktop catalog. 

Local CountyCat Versions

Why does CountyCat look different for my home library?

Each library in Milwaukee County has a branded version of CountyCat inspired by colors found at the library or on its web page.  These library-specific CountyCat instances display local copies first in the results for your convenience.  However, you are still able to search across all of our libraries and view what copies are available elsewhere.  

Example of a title from CountyCat for the West Allis Public Library

Can I see content available at my library without using the library's catalog?

Yes.  After performing a search in CountyCat, you are always able to use the limiters or facets on the left side to select a specific library.  Hint, if you don't see your library at first, click on the word more to bring up more locations.  There is a facet to find materials from a library that are available right now. 

Items Held by One or More Libraries

If you want to see what an individual location holds or owns, whether or not items are available right now for checkout, go to the advanced search area and use the Held by These Libraries limiter.

Advanced Search for finding items HELD by a library

Do I lose out on content by using a library-specific CountyCat?

No!  You are still searching the full CountyCat collection of materials from all the public libraries in Milwaukee County.  When using your local library's version of CountyCat, their items are placed more prominently in the search results. 

When you are looking at the search results display, there are buttons near the top that let you quickly choose if you want to search all of our libraries, search just within one library's collection, search for items available for checkout now at any of our libraries, or search for items from an online collection (Libby).