Shirley Burnham, Library Campaigner, Old Town Library, Swindon

Shirley Burnham, Library Campaigner, Old Town Library, Swindon

Shirley Burnham, Library Campaigner, Old Town Library, Swindon

Who am I?
My name is Shirley Burnham and I will be the curator for @voiceslibrary for the week beginning 1st July

What am I doing now?
I am retired from paid employment.  You should be aware that I’ve never worked for the Library Service.  I lead a campaign to protect my own library in Swindon, as well as advocating for public libraries in general.

What’s my background?
Secretarial college, SRN nursing training and then an American university – some of these unfinished.  But by using initiative and drawing on these elements of training, I’ve had many and varied jobs – the worst as a chicken-plucker in a Utah processing plant.

Anything else?
Residence in the Republic of Honduras from 1976-83 allowed me to write, illustrate and publish numerous textbooks for children and adults, teach a series of English courses on Honduran national radio and run a correspondence course for workers on banana plantations.

How did I get into Library campaigning?
I became aware when borrowing some books one day in late 2007 that Old Town Library in Swindon was under threat of closure.  I got up a petition, local people and the local media rallied round.  Swindon BC finally had a change of heart, so our library is still open with its paid staff today.

What do I think of public libraries?
That they are a fantastic, unique resource;  that they must remain as *public libraries*;  that their paid staff are essential and that branch libraries, however small, must be recognised by the great and the good as the sole means of making the Service accessible to everyone.

What will I tweet about?
I’d like to share some of the things I have learned whilst campaigning for my own and other libraries and explain how,  over the years, many of my preconceptions about who or what might be helpful in this struggle have been turned on their heads.   The situation for libraries seems impossibly dire at the moment which means I can get awfully cross.  I hope I might also make you smile.

Want to contact me?
It would help me considerably if you can respond to tweets or ask me for specific info – so that I can be fortified to maintain your interest for the whole week.  I am happy to go off on any tangent that might be suggested by you;  in fact I would welcome it.   You can find me on Twitter as @shirleyburnham and I have a website ( .  The latter holds an archive of news articles from 2007 to the present which, I’ve been told, can be a useful resource for bloggers and campaigners.

Please note that any comments I make are my own views only.

One thought on “Shirley Burnham, Library Campaigner, Old Town Library, Swindon

  1. Sheryl Burnham

    I just wanted to say hello. It’s rare to find someone with the same name doing something positive. Congratulations. I am proud to share my name with you.

    Kindest regards,
    Sheryl Burnham

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