CountyCat Help Center

Getting Started

Getting a Library Card

Online Registration

If you are a Milwaukee County resident and do not already have a library card, you can register online to be a patron of the library system. The link below is for new registrations only. Upon successful completion, you will have the ability to place up to 5 requests for materials. To check out materials, you will need to bring two forms of identification in person to your community library and complete your registration.

Click here to get started!

In-person registration

You can register for a library card at any public library within Milwaukee County. Bring in two forms of ID, one with your legal name and one with your legal name and address to confirm your Milwaukee County residence address.

Requirements for full registration or renewal

Examples of Acceptable Name ID

  • Valid Driver’s license or state ID
  • Current Student Picture ID
  • Current Military ID
  • Valid Wisconsin License which includes physical characteristics, such as a fishing or hunting license
  • Passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • Signed Social Security Card
  • Current Employment Picture ID

Examples of Acceptable Name and Address ID

  • Valid Driver’s license
  • A valid and current rental lease agreement with your name and address. No handwritten receipts
  • Postmarked mail received at your home within the last 30 days. No window envelopes, junk mail or magazines
  • Utility bills (gas, electric, cable and telephone) mailed to you within the last month.
  • Online account statement from a utility or financial institution with your current address and dated within the past month. Statement can be printed or displayed from a mobile device.
  • Recent report card from school
  • Current school schedule with address
  • Current insurance card with name and address
  • Recent paycheck stub with name and address
  • Pre-printed personal Checks (with your checkbook)
  • Vehicle Registration

Logging in to CountyCat for the First Time

From your CountyCat account you can search the catalog, create preferred searches, modify your personal contact information, and view holds, checked out items, and, fines.

To login, click here and enter the barcode number found on the back of your library card and your Personal Identification Number (or PIN). If you do not have a PIN, enter your barcode number and click the "Submit" button. You will be prompted to enter a new PIN and immediately enter your online account.

If you get a message stating "Sorry, the information you submitted was invalid. Please try again.", there is a PIN on your record already. If you have an email address on your account, you can reset your PIN. Click on the "Forget Your PIN?" link and enter your email address to use this feature. If you do not have an email address, contact your local library to reset your PIN.

You may also use a unique user name instead of your barcode to login to CountyCat. To set up a user name, enter your account and click the Modify Personal Information link or Edit Account button. Fill in the field for "Username" and click submit to save your changes. You can also speak to a librarian who can enter in this information for you.

If you encounter problems logging in with Internet Explorer, you may need to disable the Content Advisor feature (see the Frequently Asked Questions area for more information about disabling Content Advisor).

Working with PINS

  1. What is a PIN and how do I create one to access my account?

    A PIN (Personal Identification Number) acts like a password in CountyCat. To create a PIN, enter your library barcode (14 digits), leave the PIN area blank and click "Submit". If there is no PIN assigned to your record, you will be able to create one at this point. If you are unable to create a PIN, this means you have an existing PIN that needs to be removed. If you have an email address on your account, you can reset your PIN. Click on the “Forget Your PIN?” link and enter your email address to use this feature. If you do not have an email address, contact your local library to reset your PIN.

  2. Does my PIN have to meet certain requirements?

    Yes. When you create or modify your PIN, the software will require that your PIN be between 4 and 30 characters long. The contents of the PIN may consist of any combination of alpha-numeric characters (a-z, 0-9).

  3. The system is telling me my PIN is "not complex enough." What does this mean?

    The software will not allow the creation of PINs that it considers to be based on a trivial pattern. For example:

    -- A character that is repeated three or more times (for example, aaaa, ababa, bbbb).
    -- A set of up to four characters is that is repeated two or more times (for example, abab, abcabc, abcdabcd).

    Any PIN not considered complex enough will generate this message: "Your PIN is not complex enough to be secure. Please select another one."

    If you feel that you are receiving this message in error, contact your local library.

  4. I forgot my PIN. How do I get access to my account?

    If you forget your PIN and you have an email address on your record, you can use the "Forgot Your PIN" link on this page. After you submit the form, an email message will be sent to your email address on file with your library account with a secure link to reset your PIN.

    If you do not have an email address on file you will need to contact your local library to have the PIN removed from your record so you can set a new one.

Your Patron Account

Once logged in, CountyCat provides a great deal of information about the status of your patron account. You can view checkouts and renew items; place, freeze or cancel your holds and pay fees and fines online. You can also keep track of what you’ve borrowed and what you plan on borrowing. Click the links below for more details.

Viewing Checkouts and Renewing Materials

To view checkouts, click the checkout link indicating the number of items you have checked out. (When you first enter your account, any checkouts show by default).

You may wish to click on the Sort by Due Date button to show which items are due the soonest. You will see a list of your currently checked out items, their due dates and any fines associated with them.

Renewals

You can renew items online through your patron account or via telephone. You can also renew items in person at the library but you must have the item with you as well as your library card. Eligible three week material can be renewed from 7 days before the due date. Eligible seven day material can be renewed 3 days before the due date. Whenever you renew, you will be given an additional loan period equal to the original loan period. You can renew materials online if they are overdue, but any fines accrued will be added to your record.

Follow these steps to renew items through your patron account:

  1. While viewing your checkouts, click in the boxes to the left of the titles that you want to renew. Check marks will appear in all of the boxes that you click in.
  2. Click on the "Renew Selected Items" button OR the “Renew All” button.
  3. If successful, the STATUS for all of the renewed items will now say "RENEWED Now due ___DATE___." The new due date will be calculated from the day that you renew the item, not the original due date.

Are all materials on CountyCat renewable?

No. Most library materials that circulate for three weeks may be renewed twice for up to an additional six weeks. A few, rare, exceptions may apply even for three week materials, such as holiday books (which may be unrenewable at holiday time). Also, items on hold for other patrons will not renew. Some libraries in the system also allow two renewals on seven day materials. This policy varies from library to library. Contact your local library if you have questions regarding the renewal policy for seven day materials at your library. Three day materials are not renewable anywhere.

Why can’t I renew my materials?

There are many reasons why an item may not be renewed, including:

  1. Too many renewals. You have already renewed this material previously.
  2. You owe over $5.00 in total fines.
  3. The item is not eligible for renewal.
  4. You are trying to renew the material too soon.
  5. Another patron has a hold on the item.
  6. The item is overdue and can't be renewed.

If you are not able to use a computer, you may also renew items over the telephone by calling 414-277-0183.

Holds Management

CountyCat affords you a variety of options for managing your holds (also called "requests"). From within your account, click on the Holds link to view your holds.

It is important to remember that after making any modifications to your holds list you must click on the button Update List in order for any changes to take place.

Freezing Holds

If you are leaving for an extended period, or if you simply wish to better manage when your holds come in, you can freeze your holds. If you reach the top of the waiting list while your hold is frozen, the next available copy will be sent to the next person in the waiting list. The library will continue to send available items to the next waiting patron until you choose to reactivate your hold. Your hold will be passed over until you reactivate it, but you will not lose your place in line.

Note: You will not be able to freeze any request if an item is already in transit to fulfill your hold request, is available on the shelves or if the item is showing a status of "Ready for Pickup." In rare cases a hold may be too old to freeze. This will be indicated in your record. Contact your local library if you have questions regarding your frozen holds.

To freeze a hold:

  • Find the column labeled Freeze at the far right of your list of holds.
  • For each request you wish to freeze, click in the checkbox in this column.
  • Click on the Update List button to save your changes.
  • Holds that have been successfully frozen will show a checkmark in the Freeze column

Cancelling Holds

You may cancel all holds or only those holds you wish to select from your list:

  • To cancel all holds, select the Cancel All button. You will be asked to confirm your cancellation--once confirmed your holds will be erased and not recoverable.
  • To cancel selected holds, use the check box on the left hand side of each hold to mark it for cancellation. Once you have selected the holds you wish to cancel, click on the Update List button--this will remove those holds from your list. Again, once you update your list, your holds will not be recoverable.

Possible Hold Error Messages

When you try to place a hold, sometimes you will get an error message stating the hold was unsuccessful. Here are the most common reasons:

  • You have reached the maximum number of 15 requests.
  • You owe total fines in excess of $5.00.
  • Your library card may be expired.
  • You already have a hold on this item.
If you feel none of these explanations fit your situation, contact your local library staff for assistance.

Paying Fines and Fees Online

CountyCat allows you to pay your library fees or fines online with a credit card or PayPal account any time that you want from any location with internet access. Here are step by step instructions on how to pay your fines online

Online Fine Payment (PDF).

Online Fine Payment FAQ

What forms of payment are accepted?

Currently you can pay for fines using any MasterCard, Visa or Discover cards. You can also pay using your personal PayPal account.

Will I receive a receipt for online payments?

Yes. If you enter an email address in the online payment form, your receipt will be emailed to you with a subject line of "Order Confirmation." You can also print a receipt if the PC you are using is connected to a printer.

Who will be the merchant listed on my credit card statement for online payment?

The merchant on your credit card statement will be "MILW CO FED LIB SYS" if you pay by credit card, or "PAYPAL*MILWCOFEDLI" if you use Paypal. The name of your local library will not be included on your statement.

What do I need to do to get a refund?

Refunds for any lost items paid online will be issued by the library that owns the item. Please contact the owning library if you need a refund.

Do you keep any of my financial information on CountyCat?

No financial information (such as credit card numbers) is kept on the CountyCat server. Please review our privacy policy for more information.

I am getting an error message denying my payment. What's happening?

In most cases, an error message indicates the data entered into the form (like credit card number, security code or address) is incorrect or does not match information provided by your financial institution in the transaction process. Contact your financial institution if you believe the information is being entered correctly.

Reading History

Reading History maintains a list of all materials that you check out, even after the materials have been returned. This is an "opt in" feature, meaning that CountyCat will only keep a Reading History if you have elected to participate in the service.

Reading History FAQ

How do I "opt in" for Reading History?

In your CountyCat account, click the Reading History
link. Click on the Opt In button to begin tracking your reading history from that moment forward. Reading History includes the title, author, date checked out, and copy number for each item.

Once I opt-in to My Reading History, are current checkouts recorded, or only checkouts from that moment forward?

Only checkouts from that moment forward are recorded.

What are the implications for Reading History in terms of confidentiality and the PATRIOT Act?

Library users need to be aware that using My Reading History means this information is being stored on the CountyCat server. Staff will not have access to this information. However, if we are served with a subpoena, Reading History information might have to be surrendered to law enforcement officials. If this is of concern to you, you may not want to opt in to the Reading History feature.

The Milwaukee County Federated Library System adheres to all regulations regarding library user confidentiality as laid out in Section 43.30 of the State of Wisconsin Statutes. Click here for more details.

Can I export My Reading History list?

Yes. Click on the Export Reading History List button and you will be provided the option to export to email, to a text file or directly to the screen for printing.

Once I have "opted in" to My Reading History, may I opt out at some future point?

Yes. Once a you have opted in, the button changes to Opt Out. All you have to do in order to disable My Reading History is delete all entries and then click the Opt Out button.

May I delete parts of my Reading History, or must the entire history be retained?

You may delete all or part of your Reading History by checking specific items and clicking the Delete Marked or Delete All button.

My Lists

My Lists allows you to create wish lists of titles you may want to check out later. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Perform a search.
    • In the new catalog, add a title to your bookcart using the cart icon to the right of the title. Click the link at the top of the page to enter your bookcart area. Click the Save to list link
    • to save the title to an existing list or add a new one. Name your list (and add an optional description) and click the Create button.
    • In the classic catalog, click in the box by one or more titles and click the Add to My Lists button. You may also add a title individually to a list by entering the full display and clicking the "Add to My Lists" button. Log into your account and select "Create a New List." Name your list (and add an optional description) and click the Submit button.
  2. Use My Lists to:
    • Create different lists for different subjects.
    • Add, delete, or place holds on items in your lists from your patron account.

Preferred Searches

A preferred search is a feature that helps you stay informed about new materials added to CountyCat. For example, you can select to be notified by email when a new book by your favorite author comes in. A preferred search can be for an author, a subject, or even a keyword.

Preferred searches are not yet available in the new catalog. Please login to your account in the classic catalog to create a preferred search.

To create a preferred search:

  1. Log in to your CountyCat account in the classic catalog.
  2. Perform your search. For example, if you wish to be notified about new books by a preferred author, use the drop down menu to select Author. Type the author's name in the search box (last name, first name) and click the Submit button.
  3. Click the Save as Preferred Search button.
  4. Now at the top of the page, select Return to Your Record.
  5. Select the Preferred Searches link on the left side of the page.
  6. Click in the check box below the Mark for Email column.
  7. Click the Update List button. If CountyCat receives a new title by your Preferred Search author (or new items according to what you entered as your Preferred Search), you will receive an e-mail message. Messages are sent out weekly on Monday mornings.

Renewing Your Library Card

You can renew your library card at any public library within Milwaukee County. Bring in two forms of ID, one with your legal name and one with your legal name and address to confirm your Milwaukee County residence address.

Examples of Acceptable Name ID

  • Valid Driver’s license or state ID
  • Current Student Picture ID
  • Current Military ID
  • Valid Wisconsin License which includes physical characteristics, such as a fishing or hunting license
  • Passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • Signed Social Security Card
  • Current Employment Picture ID

Examples of Acceptable Name and Address ID

  • Valid Driver’s license
  • A valid and current rental lease agreement with your name and address. No handwritten receipts
  • Postmarked mail received at your home within the last 30 days. No window envelopes, junk mail or magazines
  • Utility bills (gas, electric, cable and telephone) mailed to you within the last month.
  • Printed online account statement from a utility or financial institution with your current address and dated within the past month
  • Recent report card from school
  • Current school schedule with address
  • Current insurance card with name and address
  • Recent paycheck stub with name and address
  • Pre-printed personal Checks (with your checkbook)
  • Vehicle Registration

Searching

These search tips may help you better understand how the catalog works, particularly if you are having a difficult time finding the information you need.

 

The newest version of our catalog uses a single search box like Google. Results can be sorted in three ways: relevance (the default), title, and date. Each result will have an icon displaying what type of item it is, a short description of the item, a list of libraries that own a copy, and a book jacket if one is available. Most likely your search will return a lot of results that you can then narrow.

 

Once your search is complete, you can use the facets (or limiters) on the left hand side of the screen under “Refine by” to narrow a broad topic to the specific item you desire. The facets we use are:

 

  • Availability--see whether an item is currently at a library (either available for checkout or in a reference section) or available online.
  • Found In--limit more specifically where the search term was found. Three options can appear here: author, title or subject. This is especially useful when searching the name of a person. If someone has written books under that name, then selecting subject will give you biographies of that author while selecting the author facet will return books written by that person.
  • Format—choose books, articles, audiobooks, DVDs, music CDs, ebooks, electronic audiobooks, graphic novels, etc.
  • Location—limit to a specific library location that owns the item or a reading level (adult, young adult, children).
  • Language—find books in foreign languages or translations. You can also eliminate them from your results by selecting English.
  • Tag—search subjects noted by both librarians and members of the library community, very helpful for broader searching.
  • Place—filter by the geographic setting of the book or film
  • Publish Date—look for an item from a specific time. This can be very useful when multiple movies have the same title.

 

Below the facets, our new catalog supplies suggestions for additional searches in the form of Established Terms and Additional Suggestions. These terms are pulled from the standard subject headings of items returned by the initial search. Established Terms will usually generate a more narrowly defined search, returning the specific item you intended to find. Conversely, the Additional Suggestions offer much broader terms. If you don’t have exact information about the item you are looking for, or if you would like to see more items like the ones you have already found, then use the Additional Suggestions to search genres.

 

By clicking Advanced Search, you can combine terms to execute a search. Add as many as you like by clicking on “And,” “Or,” and “Not.” Further limit your search by selecting Format, Location, Language, and Year Published. You can add additional formats, collections, and languages by clicking the plus sign next to each field.

 

Classic Catalog Searching

From the main screen, you may search the catalog through the six search tabs at the top of the search box. More details about each search type are listed below.

 

Title searching

Type in the title of the item you would like to search for. You do not have to type the words “a”, “an,” or “the” at the beginning of the title; the computer will ignore them. You may limit your search to a particular type of material or a particular library’s collection by clicking in the radio button next to it in the “Limit To” box under the search box. Title searches search only the Title field of the record.

Author searching

Type in the author’s last name, then the first name. You may limit your search to a particular type of material or a particular library’s collection by clicking in the radio button next to it in the “Limit To” box under the search box. Author searches search only the Author field of the record.

Subject searching

Type in a word or words that describe what you would like to find materials about. CountyCat uses standardized terms (Library of Congress Subject Headings) for grouping materials about the same topic together. You may limit your search to a particular type of material or a particular library’s collection by clicking in the radio button next to it in the “Limit To” box under the search box. Subject searches will search only the Subject fields of the record.

Keyword searching

Type in a word or words related to what you would like to find. Keyword searches produce results similar to what you would get from searching commercial search engines such as Google. You may limit your search to a particular type of material or a particular library’s collection by clicking in the radio button next to it in the “Limit To” box under the search box. Keyword searches will search the title, author, subject, and notes fields of the record.

Call Number searching

Type in the Dewey Decimal call number for a particular item. This field searches only the call number field of the record.

ISBN/ISSN searching

Type the ISBN or ISSN for the item. ISBN/ISSN searches will search only the ISBN/ISSN fields of the record.

 

Advanced Keyword Searching and Special Operators

Wildcards

Words may be right-hand truncated using an asterisk ('*') in place of other characters. The '*' wildcard may also be embedded in a search string. You may use '?' to replace a single character anywhere within a word.

Examples: environment* polic*, wom?n

Boolean Operators

Use "and" or "or" to specify multiple words in any field, any order.
Use "and not" to exclude words.

Example: stocks and bonds
Example: (alaska or canada) and (adventure and not vacation)

Field limits

A field limit causes the system to search only the specified field for the specified word(s).

Example: AUTHOR: steinbeck
Example: SUBJECT: civil war

Grouping

Keyword search results are usually grouped by relevance to bring the most likely titles to the top of the list. Each group represents a similar level of relevance and results are sorted within the group by date or title. To get an ungrouped result set, use boolean operators to form a complex query.

How does relevancy ranking work with keyword searching?

Keyword search results are ranked to bring the best results to the very top and to subdivide the remaining results based on relevance, with relevancy based on where the search term(s) appear in the record. The results are most obvious if you are searching a phrase rather than a single keyword.

Search results appear in up to 5 groups, from Most Relevant to Least Relevant. Titles within each group are sorted by publication date, newest to oldest.

  • relevance ranking 5 Group 1 contains the most relevant results; those items where the primary title contains the single keyword or the multiple keywords as a phrase (for example, searching the phrase "treasure island" results in all copies of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson being in this group, regardless of publication year).
  • relevance ranking 4Group 2 contains highly relevant results based on where and how the term(s) appear in the record. The single keyword or phrase appears in a subtitle or other title information (for example, Robert Louis Stevenson : finding Treasure Island where the phrase is in the subtitle).
  • relevance ranking 3Group 3 contains very relevant results with single keywords found anywhere other than the main title fields (such as in a chapter title or subject heading) and multiple keywords still found as a phrase, but in fields deemed less relevant (for example, the record for the movie Treasure Planet has the phrase "treasure island" as part of a note field).
  • relevance ranking 2Group 4 further subdivides multiple keyword searches. Keywords are combined with a boolean AND, and at least one of the words is in the main title or subtitle. (for example, The Treasure of Savage island has both words "treasure" and "island" in the contents, and "treasure" as part of the title).
  • relevance ranking 1Group 5 contains the remaining results where all the keywords appear in the record (for example, the film version of The Count of Monte Cristo has the words "treasure" and "island" separately within the summary).

To bypass the ranking you can use field limits (for example, select Author, Title, Subject or Note in the Advanced Keyword "Any Field" drop down menu or include a:twain in your query). This is interpreted as a power search and automatically bypasses relevance ranking to present the results in a single group, sorted by publication date.

Placing Holds

Milwaukee County residents can request items from any library within the system. The easiest way to request items is to first login using your barcode and PIN (or username and PIN) combination from the home page. From your account page, enter in your search and locate the items you wish to request.

Placing a Hold on a Single Item

Any item within the library catalog can be requested whenever you see the Request button displayed from the results list or full record display screens. If you are logged in, you will need to choose a pickup location and click Submit. The system will confirm your request has been successful and that you will be notified when the item is available for pickup.

Placing a Hold on a Multiple Items

To request multiple items, search the catalog and mark your items you wish to request using the book cart icon to the right of each title. Click on the My Book Cart link at the top of the page to view these items when you are finished.

Please note that the items within your CountyCat cart will be emptied as soon as you close your browser or after thirty minutes of inactivity. If you want to retain items permanently, use the My Lists function.

If you are logged in to your account already, you can click on the Request link at the top of the list to start the process.

You will be required to login and choose your pickup location. Make sure the items you want are selected by clicking in the box to the left of each title. Any items that can be requested in your list will then be placed on hold for you. Click the Request button to finish the process. A small confirmation message will appear underneath the entry for each title. If there are problems placing the request, that too will be shown under the title.

If you have a problem with your holds or do not believe the process was successful, please contact your local library.

Hold Notifications

Once an item has been checked in to fill your hold and is placed on the holdshelf, you will be notified by either a telephone, email, print notice or text notice. You can specify which method you would like to use for notifications when you register or by clicking the Modify Personal Information or Edit Account link within your account area. The best option for receiving hold pickup notices is generally through email, as these will include more specific information about the item being held and will get to you more quickly.

Holds expire from the holdshelf at your pickup location 5 days from the date they are placed there. These items are then returned to the owning library or the next person in the queue. Your notification message will specifiy the last date the item will be available on the holdshelf.

Hold notifications for telephone and email are queued up and sent out four times per day Monday through Friday. On weekends the notifications are sent out three times a day on Saturdays and twice on Sundays. Hold notifications for text notices are queued up twice every day at 9 am and 4 pm.

The following libraries currently support automated telephone notices: Brown Deer, Cudahy, Franklin, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Milwaukee, Oak Creek, Shorewood, South Milwaukee, West Allis, and Whitefish Bay. Other libraries also make telephone calls to notify patrons of items ready for pickup. Please also note that only 262 and 414 area code numbers are sent notices via telephone.

 

Renewing Materials

You can renew items online through your patron account or via telephone. Eligible three week material can be renewed from 7 days before the due date. Eligible seven day material can be renewed from 3 days before the due date. Whenever you renew, you will be given an additional loan period equal to the original loan period. You may be able to renew materials if they are overdue, but any fines accrued will be added to your record.

Renewing Items Online

Follow these steps to renew items through your patron account:

  1. While viewing your checkouts, click in the boxes to the left of the titles that you want to renew. Check marks will appear in all of the boxes that you click in.
  2. Click on the "Renew Marked" button OR “Renew All” button.
  3. If successful, the STATUS for all of the renewed items will say "RENEWED Now due ___DATE___." The new due date will be calculated from the day that you renew the item, not the original due date.

Are all materials on CountyCat renewable?

No. Most library materials that circulate for three weeks may be renewed twice for up to an additional six weeks. A few, rare, exceptions may apply even for three week materials, such as holiday books (which may be unrenewable at holiday time). Also, items on hold for other patrons will not renew. Some libraries in the system also allow two renewals on seven day materials. This policy varies from library to library. Contact your local library if you have questions regarding the renewal policy for seven day materials at your library. Three day materials are not renewable anywhere.

Why can’t I renew my materials?

There are many reasons why an item may not be renewed, including:

  1. Too many renewals. You have already renewed this material previously.
  2. Item is not eligible for renewal.
  3. You are trying to renew the material too soon.
  4. Another patron has a hold on the item.
  5. The item is overdue and can't be renewed.

If you are not able to use a computer, you may also renew items over the telephone.

Renewing Items Over the Telephone (414-277-0183)

The library system offers a telephone renewal service using phone number 414-277-0183. To renew items using this service, you will need your library card number and the barcode numbers on the materials you wish to renew. As with online renewals, you may in some cases renew overdue materials, but any fines owed at the time of the renewal will still be added to your record.

Renewing Items Via Text Messaging

To renew items with the text messaging service, you must first sign up for the service using the form and information provided here.. After you have signed up successfully and when your materials are about to come due, you will receive a text message one day prior to the due date with instructions on how to renew them (if they are eligible).

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose to request materials from one library?

Requesting items from a specific library location is not generally possible from within CountyCat. The software and delivery system are designed to maintain equity across the system and keep delivery costs as low as possible. One function within CountyCat works behind the scenes to help make sure you have the best access to your own library's materials. This function is called priority of local holds.

The priority of local holds affects the order in which holds are filled. When an item is returned and checked in, the system will scan the list of holds and attempt to fulfill a hold where the pickup location matches the ownership location. For example, if a Greendale item is returned to Oak Creek, the system will check the holds queue and match it with the first hold in the queue that has Greendale as a pickup location. The idea is to send to and keep materials within the owning library and fill requests there first. If there is no hold in the queue that matches the ownership of the item and the user pickup location, the copy then goes to the first user in the queue.

Can I return my materials to any public library in Milwaukee County?

Yes. Any materials checked out at a public library in Milwaukee County can also be returned to any public library in Milwaukee County.

How long do items stay in my book cart?

The items within your CountyCat cart will be emptied as soon as you close your browser or after thirty minutes of inactivity. If you want to retain items permanently, use the My Lists function.

I have an internet mail account and I don't seem to be getting email notices. What's going on?

If you have an internet mail account and are not receiving email notices from the library, you may need to add this email account to your list of contacts:

circadm@mcfls.org

If you continue to have problems, contact your local library to have them check the email address on your record.

I am not a Milwaukee County resident. How can I get access to library materials?

If you are not a Milwaukee County resident but would like access to library materials, many libraries in the system offer what is called a "fee card" for out-of-county residents. The cost of these fee cards vary in price based on the municipality offering the service, but fee cards are good for one year and offer access to that library's collection. Please note that fee card users do not have access to materials from other libraries across Milwaukee County; access is limited solely to the library where the fee card was purchased. You can find a list of libraries and contact information on this page.

I cannot login to CountyCat and the same screen keeps appearing. What’s happening?

If CountyCat does not allow you to enter your record once you've entered your login information correctly, check the Content Advisor settings on your Internet Explorer browser. CountyCat does not work with Content Advisor and you will need to turn off that function if you want to view your library record. To do this, open Internet Explorer and using the text menu above select Tools > Internet Options and then select the Content tab. The area at the top of this tab should look like this if you have Content Advisor disabled and want to be able to view your record:

Content Advisor

If you continue to have problems, contact your local library.