Loyola University Chicago

School of Communication

Policies and Procedures

Owl Lab Gear

Photo by Zack Miller

The following policies and procedures have been modified for distance learning during the building closure due to coronavirus. Other specific measures we are taking are as follows:

1. All staff working with the Owl Lab are mandated to check their symptoms before coming to work and to wear a mask during work hours. 

2. There will be no walk-in checkouts, only reservations. Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance of pick-up time. 
3. Contact-less pick-up will be in the lobby of the School of Communication. Equipment will be returned in the same way. To minimize the amount of people in the building, checkouts will be limited to 2 per half hour. 

4. You can choose to keep your equipment for 1, 2, or 3 business days. 

5. All returned items will be quarantined for a minimum of 3 days. 

6. There will be no computer usage during the building closure. If you need to use a lab computer, you should contact Digital Media Labs.

This video will help you with creating a reservation:

Currently, only students enrolled in a production course in the School of Communication and Digital Media and Storytelling graduate students have access to equipment. Film and Multimedia Journalism students will be allowed to use equipment only if they submit a special request through a faculty member.
You will not be able to make reservations or check out equipment until you've completed the release formPlease read the form instructions carefully. The form must be signed and submitted online. You can use the Adobe Fill & Sign App or Adobe Acrobat.
If you’ve already submitted a form electronically in the past, you do not need to resubmit the form.
Your instructor will make you aware of the specific equipment you will need for your class.

During distance learning, there will be no walk-in equipment pick-ups. You must make a reservation to pick-up equipment 24 hours in advance of your pick-up time. This is because all reservations must first be approved by the Lab manager and changes may need to be coordinated. To make a reservation, go to https://equipmentloan.luc.edu, enter your Loyola ID and password and click on “Owl Lab | School of Communication 004.” You can find detailed instructions for using the reservation system if you click on the question mark at the top of the Patron Portal. Click here to watch a helpful video for making reservations.

In order to limit contact, reservations can only be scheduled every 30 minutes. You will have a choice to keep your equipment for 1, 2, or 3 OPEN days of the Lab. Your pickup and return time will be the same: If you pick up at 12:00, you will return at 12:00. If you pick up at 3:30, you will return at 3:30.

There will be NO RENEWALS for the time being. If you need to return equipment sooner, you must call to schedule a return time.

The Tech Assistant on duty will have your reservation prepared for you in the lobby of the School of Communication. They will have made sure that all items are damage-free and in working order. All you need to do is show them your ID.

Equipment will be returned in the same way. You do not need your ID to return equipment. You may even have someone you trust return equipment for you.

You will have a ten-minute window to pick up your reservation. After that, the WebCheckout system will auto-cancel the reservation and release the equipment for other patrons. 


If you need to cancel your reservation, you must call the lab as soon as possible at 312-915-8830. Cancelations will not be accepted via email. Failure to pick up or cancel your reservation will incur a $25 charge to your account.

You can always renew your equipment by calling the lab at 312-915-8830.Never send an email asking for a renewal - it's possible the email won't be read in time. Also note that you don't need to bring the equipment in for a renewal, just call. You are allowed two renewals per checkout for a period of three days each. 


If you're running late for your return, not only is it courteous to call us, but you can also ask for a renewal - even if it's just for an extra hour - to avoid late fees. However, this is not a reliable method as the equipment may be reserved for someone else. If that's the case, you won't be allowed to make a renewal and the equipment will be late.

You will incur a $25 late fee per checkout per day for any late equipment. Since returns must also be scheduled, you will have to phone or email the lab to reschedule your return-time.


You will have 7 days to pay your fine. If the fine is not paid by then, you will be restricted from further use of the lab and holds may be put on your account.

First of all – call us! It’s important that we know as soon as the item is lost. Unfortunately, you’ll be responsible for the purchase of a replacement item. Cables, lens caps, or a pricey camera – you’ll have to buy a new one. Some of the items can be very expensive so always keep an eagle eye on any gear checked out to you.

If any item checked out to you is stolen, first, file a police report. Notify the lab immediately via email or by calling us. We will need a copy of the police report. You may be responsible for replacing the items. It is recommended that you look into obtaining renter’s insurance, which could cover the value of items stolen from your home.

If you damage something, call or email us as soon as you can. It is imperative that you do not attempt to fix the damaged item on your own as this could cause further, irreparable damage. Often it is a simple fix that can be done in-house, which means you won't have to replace it or pay for a repair. Occasionally, the item cannot be fixed in-house and, in such cases, you will have to pay for a replacement or repair.

Honesty is always the best policy! Remember that the equipment belongs to everyone - it is for use by all of your fellow students as well as faculty - so treat it with the same respect you might treat something you borrowed from a friend.

There are some items that you first must be trained to use before you can have access to them. If your instructor shows you how to use it in class, you should be authorized to use it.

In order to use equipment you have been shown in class, you must get authorization from your instructor. 

Because we are operating under restrictions, some items are reserved only for use by specific classes.


In order to use equipment that is not a part of your class, you’ll have to email Jillian at jmusielak@luc.edu.

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