Have you ever gone to Milwaukee Public Library's catalog, CountyCat, and noticed at the top that it says Milwaukee County Federated Library System? If so, you may have wondered what this system is and how it differs from the Milwaukee Public Library. The whole idea behind library systems is that through working together and sharing services and materials all of the libraries that are part of the system can better serve their users. For example, if you are a resident of Milwaukee you have access to materials and services of 27 libraries, rather than just the 13 Milwaukee libraries. This is because the public libraries in Milwaukee and the other public libraries in Milwaukee County are part of the Milwaukee County Federated Library System (also known as MCFLS).
If you use library databases you also may have noticed that some of them are available only in the library while others offer remote access. Being part of MCFLS helps lower the cost of these databases, but the Milwaukee Public Library and the other Milwaukee County public libraries still have to pay for their own databases. This means when you try to use the library's databases you are limited to what your municipality has purchased access to. Take a look at Free Subscription Databases by Residence to find out the available resources paid for by your library.