As an intern in Columbia’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML), Jean-Christophe Cloutier was used to the silence.

First Tony award for Best Book (Musical), 1949. (Image credit: Sam and Bella Spewack Papers, Columbia Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

Don’t be fooled by the name. Columbia’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library has thousands of objects in its collection that are neither books nor manuscripts.

Professor Amy Benson, a co-founder of "First Person Plural," speaks at the Shrine World Music Venue in Harlem.

Amy Benson, a writer and faculty member at the School of the Arts, was tired of always going to downtown Manhattan for literary events.

Jamal Joseph’s life has all the makings of a great book. A Black Panther at only 15, he was in jail at 16 and later served time in federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan., where he got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.