How my MLIS degree led me to teach yoga

I ended up in library school quite by accident. I had been working in a good union job for the past 10 years with a pretty good wage and great benefits, but I was always complaining about my job. One day my friend, who is a librarian and had gone to SLAIS at UBC, told me I should apply to library school. She loved her job and thought I’d like it, too. I applied and I got in. It all happened pretty fast. So I quit my job and went back to school.

I’ve been thinking lately how smart everyone I went to SLAIS with was. Really smart. We were all mostly older (I think our class age average was 33) and half of us already had a master’s degree. The program wasn’t competitive, meaning we weren’t competing for a certain number of “A”’s. As a result, there were always other students around who were happy to help me any time,  especially with the computer stuff (like building a website). And group projects were a dream – everybody would actually do their work and do a really good job (unlike most undergrad experiences). I met some great people, like this gang, who I’m still friends with.

It occurred to me only recently that library school is still an arts degree, although it’s given its own discipline. Completing the degree is one thing, but having the right connections when you’re out to actually get hired is another thing. It’s like my undergrad in sociology. I have it, but nobody really cares because I don’t have any connections in places where I could put that knowledge to use.

I thought my MLIS was a practical career choice, but it turns out my Yoga Teacher Training was much more practical and has actually led me to paid work. Although, I have to admit that I was convinced leaving library school that I was not getting a job because, although we weren’t competitive in the program, we would be competing out in the real world for very rare librarian jobs. And if we got a job, then we should be ready and willing to include “justifying our job to the boss on a daily basis” as part of our job description, and even then, it would probably get cut eventually. I also have to admit that as fabulous and amazing as all the librarian’s we had in to teach our classes were, they worked hard! And they worked long. They put their all into their careers, which is awesome, it’s just not how I want to work. I finished library school the same time I finished my yoga teacher training program and I decided to go the yoga route. I still hope to find some kind of casual or part-time library work, but right now, teaching yoga is my focus.

In looking for paid work now, I keep in mind the Rudolf Rocker quote,

“I am not an anarchist because I believe anarchism is the final goal, I am an anarchist because there is no such thing as a final goal”.

No matter what work I do, I want to be engaged in the process of that work, rather than focusing on how much money it pays me or where it can lead, because if I’m not enjoying the work, then what’s the point? The process, and being in this moment, is all that matters.


  1. “No matter what work I do, I want to be engaged in the process of that work, rather than focusing on how much money it pays me or where it can lead, because if I’m not enjoying the work, then what’s the point? The process, and being in this moment, is all that matters.”

    I thought that deserved quoting. Great post. Good luck!

  2. mk said:

    hi. i am in the same boat…..just in terms of how i feel about slais/what the degree means to me. I really want to explore other means of employment and i have always loved yoga soooooo i want to follow in your footsteps! how did you get certified and through who? How did you pay for it?

    • CF said:

      Hi! It’s true, Yoga certification is expensive! And after teaching for a year, I found I couldn’t find enough steady work to sustain myself, so I’m now on a couple of yoga teaching sub-lists as well as working as an auxiliary librarian. It turns out both my passions (and your’s!) are alot of other peoples as well, so there’s tough competition in both. I got my certification through Rizze Yoga, and it was great for my personal practice, but if you’re looking to start teaching for money, you might want to get your certification through a studio that will have classes for you to practice your teaching on and that way you’ve got an automatic contact in a studio. After I got my teaching certification, I also did a mentor-ship through a local studio (and you don’t have to be certified to do this program). I don’t want to discourage you at all, just know that in Vancouver everyone and their dog is a certified yoga teacher, so you’ll really have to hustle to make it happen. And as for paying for it, I saved up for it, but a lot of places have monthly payment plans.
      Great great luck to you, my fellow yogi-librarian! If I can be of any more help, let me know.

  3. mk said:

    thanks so much for your amazing words of wisdom! best of luck to you, as well 🙂 im sure you dont need luck as you sound very smart, driven, and talented! thanks again!

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