Award-winning Minnesota author speaks at Douglas County Library

Margaret Standafer's book "I Know an Old Lady" was the topic of discussion at a "meet the author" event hosted by the Douglas County Library as it touches on dementia, the Friends of the Library's theme for this year's Community Read.

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Award-winning author Margaret Standafer talks writing, inspiration, her completed series and her book "I Know and Old Lady" to a crowd of almost 40 at the Douglas County Library's Community Read event on Monday, June 13.
Thalen Zimmerman / Alexandria Echo Press

ALEXANDRIA — Minnesota author Margaret Standafer spoke to a crowd of almost 40 people at the Douglas County Library during a meet and greet about the topic of dementia and her award-winning book that addresses it.

The June 13 event was part of the library's annual Community Read effort.

"I thought it went fabulous," said Dawn Dailey, Douglas County Library director. "I was excited to see how many people showed."

Every year the Friends of the Library chooses a book by a Minnesota author or at least with Minnesota ties for the Douglas County Library's Community Read program and then creates events relating to a topic in the book.

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Author Margaret Standafer poses with her completed Misty Lake series and her award-winning book, "I Know an Old Lady," at the Douglas County Library's meeting room on Monday, June 13.
Thalen Zimmerman / Alexandria Echo Press

This year they decided on "I Know an Old Lady," a book about a young boy sentenced by a judge to spend his summer working for an elderly woman, rumored by the town to be a child killer.


Since the book touches on dementia, speaker events were scheduled to present information about different aspects of dementia.

  • On Tuesday, June 7, Annie Erickson shared her personal experiences of living with her husband’s dementia. She is currently writing "Love in the Time of Dementia: A Memoir in Essays." A book that challenges society’s fears of dementia, according to the library's website.
  • Rona Karasik, a teacher of gerontology at St. Cloud State University, will present on the technical side of dementia on Monday, June 27 at 4 p.m.
  • Dr. Joe Gaulger, professor at the Division of Health Policy and Management School of Public Health and director for the Center of Aging, will present on the professional side of handling dementia on Monday, July 18 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

"We did three sides; the empathy, technical and professional sides of dementia," said Dailey. "We try to do things that involve the community since it's a Community Read."
All the presentations will take place in the library meeting room.

"I'm just really getting into reading. I really started enjoying it now that I'm retired, " said Barb Flolo of Alexandria who attended Monday's event. "When I read that she was coming, it sounded so interesting, I had to come. And I enjoy coming to the library."

Flolo says although she hasn't read "I Know an Old Lady," she is excited to start as she hears it is "awesome" and anxious as she knows it touches on dementia, which runs in her family.

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Margaret Standafer, right, writes a message, "Thanks for being at the library. Nice to meet you" on Barb Flolo's copy of "I Know an Old Lady" on Monday, June 13, 2022.
Thalen Zimmerman / Alexandria Echo Press

Before she concluded with an audience Q and A, Standafer spoke for nearly an hour about her reluctant beginning as an author when she tried to prove to her insistent husband that she couldn't write. She also talked about her inspiration and writing process, her completed series and an upcoming series as well as her award-winning book, "I Know an Old Lady."

"Honestly, I never thought I'd get to do something like this," said Standafer when asked what it means for her to come and speak about her work with Minnesota communities. "I absolutely love being able to do this."

"I Know an Old Lady" earned Standafer the Minnesota Author Project's 2021 Best Indie-Published Adult Fiction Author through Minnesota Writes Minnesota Reads .

Bethany on the Lake, the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership, and the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund are sponsoring this year's Community Read events.


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Margret Standafer, second from left, speaks with audience members after her meet-and-greet event at the Douglas County Library on Monday, June 13, 2022.
Thalen Zimmerman / Alexandria Echo Press

Thalen Zimmerman of Alexandria joined the Echo Press team as a full-time reporter in Aug. 2021, after graduating from Bemidji State University with a bachelor of science degree in mass communication in May of 2021.
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