Dorothy M. Broderick 1929-2011

Dorothy M. Broderick

June 23, 1929—December 17, 2011

Author, librarian, and noted library educator, Dorothy M. Broderick died on Saturday, December 17, at the Brookhaven Health Facility in Patchogue, NY,  from complications of heart trouble, osteoporosis, and COPD. She was 82 and had been an invalid for several years.

As a librarian, Dorothy worked prior to her MLS from Columbia at the Milford Public Library in her Connecticut hometown, and subsequently at the Hicksville Public Library on Long Island. She was later the New York State Children’s Consultant for the State Library.

Upon receiving her DLS, also from Columbia, with Frances Henne as her dissertation director, she worked at Case Western Reserve and the University of Wisconsin library schools before moving to Canada to work at Dalhousie University with Norman Horrocks. While at Dalhousie, she did an exchange semester at C. W. Post on Long Island and met Mary K. Chelton at a professional development workshop at the Westchester Library System. She subsequently left fulltime academia to join Chelton in the U.S. where they started Voice of Youth Advocates, after observing a battle at American Library Association between Children’s Services Division and Young Adult Services Division over content in their shared journal, Top of the News. Dorothy felt that YA services could not survive without its own voice.

Dorothy subsequently worked at the University of Alabama library school and moved with Chelton to Virginia Beach, VA, where she edited VOYA fulltime there and through several other moves, winding up on Long Island. During this period, VOYA became part of Scarecrow Press and Scholastic, and then part of University Press of America. Dorothy was forced by heart trouble to retire in 1997 when Cathi MacRae was appointed successor editor.

Dorothy is known for being a co-founder of VOYA, but also for her ground-breaking book, The Image of the Black in Children’s Books, as well as Library Work with Children, and professional articles almost too numerous to mention. She also wrote a YA novel called Hank and a children’s nonfiction book called Training Your Companion Dog.

As a champion for intellectual freedom, Dorothy was involved in ALA’s contentious debate over The Speaker, a film on the First Amendment produced by the Office for Intellectual Freedom in 1977. She received the Freedom to Read Foundation’s Roll of Honor Award in 1998, and served previously as a member of the FTRF board.

Dorothy grew up in Milford, CT, with a divorced mother in a large, extended Irish family which included a grandmother she adored. Her passions included sports, public affairs, politics, and Mary K. Chelton. She said she was very happy to live long enough to see Barack Obama win the election. She is survived by several cousins in Connecticut, her partner of thirty years, Mary K. Chelton, her very good friend and neighbor, Claire Koch, and three purebred Vizslas.



  1. […] Read Dorothy’s obituary, written by Mary K. Chelton, here. […]

  2. She was a leading light. I remember her from my days at Columbia University’s library school program. The profession has lost an icon.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Dorothy, there are no words to express how grateful I am for your tireless work on behalf of young adults and the librarians who serve them. Even though I never had a chance to meet you in person, I am so honored to be part of the movement and publication that you started and will ever hold you in my heart as an example and strive to emulate you in my work. Although words are insufficient to express my gratitude, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your work, your inspiration, and your legacy which I will proudly carry on. Farewell and go in peace.

  4. Alissa says:

    It was my great honor to have Mary K. Chelton as a professor in library school.  Although I never met Dorothy, I enjoyed Dr. Chelton’s amazing tales of her spouse and all of their amazing accomplishments.  Dorothy was clearly a wonderful woman and a magnificent librarian…not to mention one-half of Young Adult Librarianship’s most important and influential couple.  Dr. Chelton, my thoughts are with you in your time of grief. Dorothy’s amazing legacy will live on with you and with every librarian who has benefited from her extraordinary work..which is us ALL.

  5. Judy Sheriff says:

    What a treasure we have lost – and what an impact remains… Without Dorothy and Mary K, I truly believe that young adult services would not be flourishing the way they are. Without their challenges to our assumptions, some of us might have wimped out on intellectual freedom and other issues. They simply wouldn’t let us! Years and years ago now, I learned from Dorothy and took advantage of the doors she opened for me. She made me feel like I could make a difference and, as I look at retiring this spring, I sincerely hope I did and that I passed on some of her messages to younger librarians. If I didn’t, it certainly wasn’t her fault! Rest in peace, Dorothy. Mary K, please know that your loss is shared, at least in part, by so many.

  6. Kyle says:

    I used a chapter of her revised “Library Work with Children” for my research project, referring to her as a “pioneer in children’s library services.” She thoroughly covered topics in 1977 that I rarely see discussed today, which takes a lot of chutzpah. I’m grateful for Dr. Chelton for the opportunity to use her work, and only wish I had had a chance to thank her in person.

  7. […] Dorothy M. Broderick 1929-2011 […]

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