Real Talk is a for-youth by-youth conversation forum that is the centerpiece of teen programming in the Waltham Public Library Teen Room.

Twice a month, six teen leaders lead their peers in activities that promote youth voice, encourage social-emotional learning, and develop awareness of issues facing in our community.

Since its founding in 2016, we continue to develop our toolkit to sustain the work of our founders and support librarians in developing similar programs in their libraries. Our program teaches us new things every year, so stay in touch to keep tabs on how Real Talk is evolving in the COVID era.

About Real Talk

Learn about the origins and goals of Real Talk, get an overview of the events, and get tips for running your own Real Talk group in the first version of our Real Talk Handbook.

Read about Real Talk

Real Talk events fall into three units...

Fall Unit

In the Fall Unit, teens lead events on eight topics to establish a social-emotional foundation.

View the Fall Unit

Spring Unit

In the Spring Unit, teens design their own activities to engage peers in topics of their choice.

View the Spring Unit


To conclude, we hold an event to pull our conversations together. Then we send off our seniors.

View the Conclusion


Real Talk offers unique opportunities to support student initiatives, amplify youth voice, and engage your community.

View our Projects


Here are several supporting documents we created to help us keep everything running smoothly.

View the Documents

Stay in Touch

We’re sharing this framework in the hopes that it will serve the needs of your youth and your community. If it does, we want to make sure we know about it. So stay in touch. Let us know how you’re using the framework. Let us know what’s working and what isn’t. We've tried to make the lesson plans as clear as possible for new folks, but if anything is confusing, we'd love to clarify. We want your feedback and input to refine the program and the documentation. And if this proves to be a valuable tool for librarians and other educators, we hope to build a network of support for Real Talk programs and initiatives across the country.

Real Talk on Instagram


Teen Room on Instagram