The community conversations will take place Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at various times and locations across the city.
The eight conversations will include two sessions in Spanish and one specifically aimed at teens, said Muriel Spill, Pomona's library services manager.
The 90-minute conversations have two goals, Spill said.
"The first is to identify the needs of the community looking ahead two to five years," she said. The second goal "is to help the community understand what the library services are now and what they can be.
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Eight community meetings have been scheduled where people can offer ideas and help create a future vision for the Pomona Public Library.
Through the conversations and a survey the top five library services or values will be identified.
Helping Pomona and its residents carry out this exercise will by State Librarian Stacey Aldrich.
Aldrich's willingness to direct such a project "shows her commitment and love of libraries," Spill said. "She wants to help the community keep its library, improve it and build on it."
Having one of the conversations dedicated to teens is meant to gather their thoughts "in their own voice," Spill said. "Certainly many teens come in and use the computers and research assignments."
However, more can be done to make the library a place that appeals to young people "that draws them to the library...that makes the library a place where they want to hang out," she said.
Young people have different from other library patrons, Aldrich said.
"They're growing up in a different world," she said.
Young people are comfortable working with new technology but they also want places where they can use the technology and interact with their peers.
Aldrich, who along with two members of the State Library staff, will lead the discussions at no cost to the city, she said.
The information collected will be compiled into a report which should be in the hands of the city by the end of the month, said Deputy City Manager Mark Gluba.
In preparation for the sessions, residents and other people should think about what service they think the library should offer and "what are the services they value most," Aldrich said.
In some ways a library is similar to a rose bush that needs to be trimmed and nurtured in order to grow, she said.
Even though the library faces uncertain future it's important to go through this exercise in order to stabilize the situation and move ahead, Aldrich said.
She added she's pleased to see to the effort members of the public after seeing the difficult situation the library is in.
"I've been so impressed by the city working together" to come brainstorm and identify approaches to keep the library in operation, Aldrich said.
In June, a budget shortfall prompted city administrators to propose a temporary one-year closure of the library.
City leaders ask administrators find a way of keeping the library open.
In June, a budget shortfall threatened to temporarily close the library for a year. Administrators came up a $400,000 allocation to operate the library during the 2012-13 fiscal year.
The limited budget has resulted in a severe reduction of staff and limited hours of operation.
A city-wide task force consisting of residents, business people and other came together to work on strategies to keep the library running and augment services.
The community conversations will generate information that will help those working on fundraising efforts to support the library, she said.
The information will help direct fundraising.
"It's about being strategic," she said.
Pomona Public Library Foundation Chairman John Clifford said the information gathered through the discussions will assist the foundation, and its board of directors as they approach groups and individuals in hopes of securing grants and donations to support the library.
"That's going to be a fabulous tool for us moving forward," Clifford said.
Foundation leadership will able develop strategies to raise money for specific projects, he said.
Clifford plans to attend as many community discussions as he can.
"It's critical to listen to what the public has to say," he said. "How can we approach the public if we don't know what the public wants."
Reach Monica via email, follow her on Twitter @PomonaNow, or call her at 909-483-9336.