From all your readings strive to make progress
[Stephen of Sawley, one time monk and abbot of Fountains]
that were used in the church, refectory, infirmary and cloister
were kept either in a cupboard known as the armarium, which was
effectively a recess in the wall of the north claustral alley,
or in the library, which adjoined the south transept of the church.
The monastic officials (obedientiaries) responsible for these
books were the precentor and succentor. At the start of Lent, each
was given a book for the year which he was to read thoroughly
during the daily period allocated to reading, as stipulated in
48 of the Rule of St Benedict. He was not to keep his book overnight
but had to return it to the book cupboard for safekeeping. The
monks sat on stone benches in the north walkway of the cloister
and read aloud, but quietly. Nobody was to leave the cloister
during reading time and the monks were to make sure that their
not cover their faces, just in case anybody was tempted to nap.
The monks spent more time reading in winter and during Lent,
when less time was allocated to work; on Sundays they also read
the work period.