California State Library’s new CIO mulls ‘virtual libraries’

David Wanjiru was appointed the new CIO of the California State Library on Nov. 2.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California State Library’s new chief information officer wants residents across the state to be able to visit his institution — from the comfort of their own computer.

David Wanjiru, who started the job on Nov. 2, told StateScoop that one of his long-term plans is to stand up a “virtual library,” where users could watch video tours of the research institution’s archives or explore its museum exhibits. To create this resource, Wanjiru would outfit staff members with GoPro cameras that would record images of the library, he said.

“I don’t think it’s too farfetched — I think we can see the possibilities of that,” Wanjiru said. Indeed, other museums and tourist attractions have started offering virtual field trips to allow students to explore their institutions remotely.

The California State Library is the archive for documents created by state agencies and provides technical assistance to other public libraries. In his new role, Wanjiru oversees the computing services, networks, database services and IT procurement associated with the library. He also is helping the institution explore new services and monitor current ones to help promote further growth.


In the near term, Wanjiru hopes to expand the State Library’s use of cloud computing to store many of the agency’s documents and ebooks. But he said only three percent of the people in California have use ebooks and would like to have it be more utilized in the state.

“There are benefits that come from that environment in terms of the ability to make services quickly available,” Wanjiru said.

Wanjiru comes to his new post after working for 15 years at the California Highway Patrol. There, he served as an assistant chief technology officer, where he managed databases and networks, and provided computer support for 911 dispatcher.

“A lot of my understanding of IT is based on working in the government and helping with digitization and improvement of services and support for the public,” Wanjiru said. “I believe it’s really important for helping us improve our lives.”

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