VOYA Magazine Mourns the Loss of Founder Dorothy M. Broderick

Dorothy M. Broderick, co-founder of VOYA magazine and an avid intellectual freedom advocate for young adults, died December 17, 2011, at 8:45 p.m. Broderick led the publication of VOYA magazine with her partner and co-founder, Mary K. Chelton, for nineteen years. She began her career in the mid 1950s as a children’s librarian, later becoming a junior high school librarian in Harlem. Broderick was a professor in five major library schools and lectured at many more, and was a speaker in nearly every state and Canadian province. She served several terms on the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee and in 1987, she won the prestigious Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award. Broderick published in most major library journals, wrote several books, including a young adult novel, and won the ALA Grolier Award in 1991 and the Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor Award in 1998.

Read Dorothy’s obituary, written by Mary K. Chelton, here.

Broderick and Chelton started VOYA magazine in their home in 1978.

Memorial donations may be made to the Freedom to Read Foundation.



  1. Carrie Gardner says:

    The world of librarianship lost a wonderful person. She fought for intellectual freedom before it was cool to do so. She gave a voice to young adult librarians and the patrons they serve. Carrie Gardner

  2. Carolyn Caywood says:

    She also was a Freedom to Read Roll of Honoree. http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/affiliates/relatedgroups/freedomtoreadfoundation/ftrfinaction/rollofhonoraward/1998rollofhonorcitation.pdf

    She changed our profession and who knows how many teenagers lives.

  3. Steve Crowley says:

    Dorothy was a shining light to many of us who worked with teens. Both she and Mary K set a high standard for what service to teens in libraries should be.Dorothy was a guide and mentor who will be greatly missed.

  4. Richard Moore says:

    Richard MooreI had dinner with Dorothy years ago — she had steak. A big juicy steak, when I was cutting back on meat. I laughed through dinner because she had so many wonderful stories to tell. One was about sitting around with librarians decades ago a…nd needing to settle an issue of fact, late at night and realizing that the only open reference desk would be in Hawaii — and calling to settle the issue.
    She was a true inspiration to YA librarians — one who, when she saw something was needed (science fiction reviews), created a magazine to do it so we could buy SF. She was way out in front on graphic novels and gave us both quality and popularity ratings. She was a smoker, a drinker, and liked her meat red. A couple of her favorite quotes:
    It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either. — Mark Twain
    This library has something offensive to everyone. If you are not offended by something we have, please complain. — Dorothy Broderick
    I miss her wit, her principles, and her strength of character.See More

  5. Mary Ellen Pellington says:

    Dorothy’s impact on teen services and the entire library profession can not be measured. She will be deeply missed.

  6. I still have several hand-written postcards from Dorothy encouraging me as a VOYA reviewer. She stood by her principles of loyalty, tolerance, and service, and created a camaraderie that still exists. She made her mark. She will be missed.

  7. Dr. Broderick was my professor at The University of Alabama in 1983. No better teacher ever lived who could turn a silly southern belle into a librarian. She introduced me to literature on a grand scale: Louis L’Amour westerns (I now own the entire collection of his books), Donald Goins and urban African American literature ( a major eye-opener!), Ludlam, Heinlein, Adams, and so on. At the time I took my class I had been a fan of Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, a few other popular authors of the late ’70s, and my one “intellectual” author, Steinbeck . After Dr. Broderick’s class I began to really READ. She was more than a teacher, she was a guidance counselor and a boot camp Sgt. Major all rolled into one. And she changed my life. I have been a librarian now for 28 years and a specialist in YA literature since 1989. But most importantly I was a student of Dorothy Broderick’s!

  8. Virginia B. (Ginny) Moore says:

    What a memorable champion of intellectual freedom, youth, and diversity! May her memory continue to brighten future paths.

  9. Beth Wheeler Dean says:

    Dorothy Broderick inspired me to go to library school. I read an article in Library Journal while working in the Bolivar County Library in Cleveland, MS in 1983. Dr. Broderick was featured in the article, and her words made me realize I wanted that kind of career. As I began looking for graduate schools, I remembered that she taught at the University of Alabama. I applied, was accepted, and moved to Tuscaloosa. Dr. B. was my faculty adviser, my mentor, and my inspiration. She challenged me to think for myself, stand up for what was right, and make public libraries my career. After 27 years as a librarian, I have quoted Dr. Broderick, told stories about her, and listened to her voice in my head. She will be missed, but she will never be silenced as long as her students give voice to her ideals and passions.

  10. I met Dorothy while attending library school at Rutgers. Mary K. was my professor, but at times when she was absent Dorothy filled in for her, so I got to know them both. I began reviewing for VOYA right after library school, contributed articles, and worked with Dorothy to get our teen advisory group at the City of Mesa Library in Arizona to write book and movie reviews that were published in the magazine. Once when Dorothy came to speak in Arizona, she took the entire group out for pizza to thank them, which was so nice of her and just like Dorothy. As I am now serving on the VOYA advisory board, I look back on my long VOYA history and what an amazing influence and inspiration Dorothy has been for me. I have shared the quote “there is something in my library to offend everyone” more times than I can ever imagine–Dorothy knew how to make a point! She will be so missed but leaves a rich and important legacy for those of us who have dedicated our careers to working with teens, books, and libraries.

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