My current library does not check out equipment, but I used to work at a university library that did do this.
For most equipment--things like headphones, calculators, adapter and charger cords--each item was cataloged as an item in the collection, which could be checked out with a library card for a few hours at a time. Many of these items were for in-library use only. The items themselves were kept in a locked cabinet behind the circ desk, and could be requested by patrons at the desk.
For things like tablets, laptops, and eBook readers, the charger cord was cataloged and checked out as a separate item. I think all instructions were kept behind the circ desk as well, though I never noticed anyone asking for them.
For more sophisticated equipment, like projectors and cameras, users had to reserve them by the hour. When users checked items like this out from the Media Resource Center, the person on the desk would offer to explain how it worked and go through the list of all the things in the case which would need to be returned. They also had users sign a form confirming that they understood their responsibilities with this equipment and when it needed to be returned. There were also hefty fines for bringing this kind of equipment back late ($30/hour when I was there), though staff would usually waive this if it was only a few minutes late and the user apologized.
Here is the page they have for equipment checkout now: https://library.unc.edu/services/circulation/loan_accessories/
From: Kyle Banerjee <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 11:34 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [CODE4LIB] Checking out and supporting equipment for patrons
If your library does this, how do you manage the myriad of batteries, remotes, cables, cards, mounts, instructions, etc. and what support to you provide for its use?
We will make GoPro equipment available to patrons soon. But simply handing this stuff over to people who are unfamiliar with it sounds like a recipe for lost/damaged components and I'm not sure it's reasonable to expect circ desk workers to recognize when something's not right.
Given how much trouble simple printers cause, it's hard to imagine people won't need help. But dealing with the massive files and producing videos are their own skills -- particularly with the 360 degree Fusion which really requires a superphone and computer with serious horsepower to process the files.