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Speaker Biography

Shirley Burnham

Born in Oxford in 1947, Shirley has worked in Latin America as a radio host and written numerous textbooks for children. Before taking early retirement in 1994, she worked as a secretary in Quetta, Dhaka, Oxford, Marlborough and Swindon.

In 2008 Shirley entered the public arena as a vigorous defender of her community library in Old Town, Swindon. Its reprieve motivated residents to organise a Friends group whose many and varied activities raised usage by some 35%. Notwithstanding, another campaign to oppose its wholesale de-staffing or closure became urgent in 2009. The local authority now agrees that a branch library must continue to exist in Old Town with one staff member. At the time of writing, April 2010, the library’s ‘co-location’ is planned – into a 28 sq.m. ‘flexible space’, without windows, at the rear of the local Arts Centre.


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