"There she is!"
The "she" is Madeline Gibson, a senior library specialist at the Undergraduate Library since 2006, and the exclamation point was from an employee trying to meet a student's request - but running out of options.
It's something Gibson is used to hearing.
"The front desk is all about service and helping people," she said. "It's helping someone find a textbook or helping a lost person find their way - even if they're just looking for the bathroom."
Gibson leads a revolving crew of students who help run the desk and assist students checking out an ever-evolving variety of books, loanable technology and other media. She said she teaches student workers that the way they provide service is as important as the materials they hand out.
"Things change so fast and there is so much they have to know," she said. "I just teach and quiz them along the way. The most important thing I share is patience and going beyond what they need to do. We're here to help make students successful."
Gibson has been around libraries all her life. She worked for the Camargo Township Library in Villa Grove for seven years before joining the U. of I. Rare Book and Manuscript Library in 1998.
There she processed, preserved and maintained various collections, and was responsible for accessing or delivering requested documents for researchers.
She said her experience at a community library - where workers are exposed to all aspects of running a library - has proved invaluable in her work at the U. of I.
"You just get a lot of all-around experience, because in a small public library you have to learn all of the ropes," she said. "But I'm still learning - there's something to learn every day."
Being in rare books was a particular joy for Gibson because she had daily access to one of the world's great manuscript collections.
"I kept thinking, 'Wow! I'm actually touching this famous book,' " she said.
Her current position, in addition to front-desk and training duties, includes "cataloging maintenance" - collection weeding - something she said is done with great care at the library.
"Weeding is a continual, ongoing process," she said. "It's a matter of finding out what's being used and what's not."
"You can't just destroy a book," she said. "You have to find a way to save it so someone can get some use out of it."
She currently is in charge of straightening up the graphic novel section, which has expanded exponentially in the past few years. The work involves grouping set titles.
Another part of her responsibility involves patrolling the study areas to ensure not only the books, but the students, are in order.
"We all patrol," she said of the shift supervisors, "and we all have our own style. Mine is kind of like mom - I won't necessarily ask a student to leave if they're sleeping, but I may wake them if their snoring is being disruptive to others."
The library is also a likely place to have your backpack stolen if you're not watching it, and Gibson is known for leaving notes on the computers of students who have left their expensive devices on the table while they take a break.
"They think they're going to be gone for just a second or two, but that's all it takes for someone to walk off with their stuff," she said.
She said she loves working so closely with the students.
"I learn from them and they keep me young," she said.
Gibson has been married for 40 years to Michael, who is retired. They live in Villa Grove, and have three adult children and four grandchildren - all boys - who live in the area.
"When I'm not at work I'm with my family," she said. "I keep pretty busy going to soccer, football and basketball games," she said.
For down time, Gibson enjoys reading, crocheting and gardening.
She said she checks out books from the university library often, but the books she brings home aren't necessarily literary heavy-hitters.
"I like to read nonfiction, but actually my favorite books are cookbooks," she said. "I like to try new things and I love seeing how cooks put their ingredients together."
She said she still gets a thrill in holding a new book. "I even love the smell of them," she said.