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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Diversity in the Fire Service: Home

Resources to learn about diversity in the US fire service, historically, currently, and in the future.


Welcome to our guide to diversity in the US fire service.  This guide will walk you through resources about current, historical, and potential future diversity.  As of 2017 only 18.2% of career firefighters were people of color, and only 4.5% were women, according to the NFPA Fire Department Profile.  This guide includes links to books, articles, videos, online resources, inclusivity initiatives, and historical information about diversity in the fire service. If you want to read more about women in the fire service, we have a guide for that too.

IFSI Library Lending Policies

Local Lending

  • Checkout period is 4 weeks.
  • We consider extensions individually.
  • Pick up requested materials at the library desk.
  • Bring your photo ID to set up a lending account.
  • Only Illinois residents may borrow directly from our collection.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

  • Checkout period is 6 weeks.
  • IFSI can send materials to your public library through interlibrary loan.
  • You must have a public library card.
  • It may take up to two weeks for items to arrive.

Questions?  Contact us by phone or email and we can help!  Our contact information is on the right.

Need help?

We're happy to help you find any of these items!  Many of our articles don't have call numbers but we can find them for you, just ask.

We are also happy to help you with your research beyond what items appear on this libguide. Contact us via phone or email any time. Our contact information is on the right.

IFSI Library

The Illinois Fire Service Institute Library contains books, codes and standards, DVDs, CDs, periodicals, manuals, e-resources, audiobooks, and other fire emergency resources, totaling over 65,000 items.  We serve all first responders in the state of Illinois.  Materials can be requested in person, by phone or email, or online through our catalog.  You can search our catalog by title, author, keyword, subject, or publisher, and choose the formats you want to see.  Enter as few or as many search terms as you would like; the more search terms you use the fewer results you'll get, but the results will be more specific.  If you live in Illinois and have a public library card, we can send materials to your public library via interlibrary loan.  Anyone is also welcome to visit us in person!

A poster from IAFC featuring a design that says We Serve All.A color poster from IAFC about a firefighter who is inclusive.
Both images sourced from 

A sepia toned image of Molly Williams, a black enslaved woman, pulling a nineteenth-century fire apparatus.
Did you know that the first recorded female firefighter in the United States was Molly Williams, a black enslaved woman in 1818 New York?  Read more about her here in an article from the New York Daily News or in the book Molly by Golly, linked in this guide's books and articles page.

Contact IFSI Library

Call Us: 217-333-8925 or Toll Free: 800-437-5819

Fax Us: 217-333-8379 (Library) or 217-244-6792 (IFSI)

Email Us:

Library Hours
Monday – Friday:
8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Library Director
Lian Ruan:

Assistant Director for Library Operations & Archivist
David Ehrenhart:

Reference & User Training Librarian
Diane Richardson:

IFSI Library also employs a number of student assistants.

LibGuide created by:

LibGuide created by Jeanni Floyd.