Comprehensive App vs. ILS App: Discover the Difference

Feb 4, 2019 | Articles

To remain relevant in your community, you know that your library must grow with your patrons, which means seeking new ways to reach your community members. You probably already know that a mobile app can make life easier for everyone and increase reach and engagement — since 2012, Library Journal reports that the percentage of public libraries offering apps increased from 15 to 84 percent.

As demand for library apps has increased, so have the types of apps that your library can offer, from basic ILS apps to comprehensive apps. Read on to discover the difference and learn what your library can accomplish with a comprehensive app.

ILS Apps vs. Comprehensive Mobile Apps

Once your library decides to offer an app, you will be confronted with two primary solutions. The first, ILS apps that are often billed as inexpensive and easy to manage, will limit your users to the functionality of your ILS, such as accessing your catalog and performing account management tasks like placing holds and renewing titles. The second option is a comprehensive mobile app, which will empower your patrons beyond your ILS and reinforce that your library is more to its community than just a resource lender.

The Benefits of a Comprehensive Mobile App

The more extensive features and functionalities of comprehensive apps put all of your library’s resources in your community members’ pockets while providing your library with many benefits:

  • Increased patron interaction. A comprehensive app offers one-click access to print and e-resources, event calendars and registration, meeting room reservations, physical media, and more. This is a great way to increase patron interaction and introduce community members to library offerings of which they were previously unaware.
  • Positioning your library as a community hub and leader. With the ability to integrate other sites and resources unrelated to the library catalog but important to your community, a comprehensive app will reinforce your position as a leader in your community.
  • Accessibility for all community members. ADA compliance will ensure that all of your community members can reap the rewards of your mobile app. In addition to the basic ADA-compliant features that a comprehensive app can offer, Demco Software’s DiscoverMobile app provides high-contrast and color-deficiency settings as well.
  • Easy tracking of stats. The metrics available through your comprehensive app’s admin dashboard will make learning how patrons engage with your library and measuring impact easy. With this data at hand, staff can meet current (and future) patrons where they are, giving them what they need when and where they need it.

library mobile app selection guide

Selecting the Right Mobile App for Your Library

Offering a deeper level of access and functionality via an app may sound intimidating, but the Demco Software DiscoverMobile app makes it easy. Want to learn more? Download our Guide to Selecting a Mobile App for Your Library to see if DiscoverMobile is the right option for your library and community.


“Under the Surface: Materials Survey 2017,” Library Journal

Todd Feece

Todd Feece is a Senior Product Manager Demco Software. In this role, he collaborates closely with public libraries to understand how to best solve the challenges they face with new software solutions, or enhancements to our existing products.