By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Dec 16, 2019 at 2:08 PM Photography: Jason McDowell

If you’re a book fiend and dedicated Milwaukee Public Library patron like me, you likely panicked a little a couple weeks ago when the County Cat mobile app refused to load, saying only that it was dead and a new app would replace it "soon."

Quite literally moments before I was going to log on to the library site today to renew a book that’s due this week – something I used to do regularly on the old app – word emerged that the Milwaukee County Federated Library System has launched its replacement app, also called County Cat.

Everything you need to know about the new app and where and how to download it can be found here.

I downloaded it immediately and the new app looks brighter and more welcoming than its workaday predecessor and, though I haven’t used it enough yet to tell, I’m optimistic it’ll turn out to be less buggy than the previous app, which often required you to load pages multiple times before they’d work and which had a frustrating tendency to crash regularly.

At first glance, there may still be issues.

The new app required me to log in a second time moments after logging in successfully moments earlier. But, hey, it’s day one, so I’ll remain hopeful that was just a minor glitch.

The search promises greater flexibility and also can display your library card onscreen so you can check books out at the library without having your card.

The access to the libraries’ copious digital content is improved, too. Like its predecessor, the new app has library locations and hours, but also adds improvements like event listings, too.

"Many people live on their mobile devices these days, so it's important for the library to be easily accessible whenever and wherever people need access to those rich resources," said Steve Heser, director of the Milwaukee County Federated Library System, in a statement.

"The new CountyCat Mobile app puts library information just one click away with much better access to library resources than our previous app. We encourage everyone to take advantage of these enhancements by downloading the new version."

The app is available free for iOS and Android devices.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.