I had the pleasure of attending Jackie Elsner’s farewell storytelling event at the Athens Regional Library in September. Jackie, or “Miss Jackie” to Athens area children, was bidding the Athens branch of the Regional Library goodbye with a special performance of rhymes, songs, a lap puppet show and more. Jackie had served as the children’s librarian for 20 years. Now she is the librarian and branch manager of the Oconee County Libraries.
I first met Jackie 20 years ago, when she became the children’s librarian in Athens. Our library was smaller then and was located at 120 West Dougherty Street in what is now called the Governmental Building. My husband’s office is in that building now, in what was once the fiction section of Athens Regional Library. My children were still young the day we met Jackie. We had come to the library to hear her tell a story. That was my introduction to this amazing woman’s storytelling talents.
Over the years, I got to know Jackie better and learned that she had many other talents as well including Sacred Harp singing, puppetry and writing. For several years I had the pleasure of being in a writers’ group with her and several other writers from the Athens and Oconee Country area. Jackie will be missed at the Athens Regional Library. But Oconee County Libraries have gained a treasure.