SAN ANGELO, Texas (KLST / KSAN) – Every year, book stores and libraries in the Concho Valley, and across the country, mark the final week of September as “Banned Books Week”.

Through the centuries, books have been banned for a variety of reasons, but librarians say there is a need to respect other people’s rights and interests. Including that people should be able to identify themselves in the books they read.

Banned Book Week is to draw attention to the dangers of censorship and celebrate the freedom to read.

Joe Garlend from OId Town Books explains, “Even in this modern day and time, books are still being banned. It’s sort of an idea to bring attention to the fact that there are still people in places in this country who still seek to ban books, and sort of highlight that book banning is itself a form of censorship. “

Also, Angelo State University Library Director, Chris Matz, says “Exposure to ideas, helping people imagine possibilities beyond what’s right in front of them I think is the way that we mature as people, and live as citizens of the world no matter what our home addresses, and books are a great gateway to that.”

The American Library Association condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information.

Some of the top ten most challenged and banned books include: The “Harry Potter” series, “the Handmaid’s Tale”, “To Kill a Mockingbird” and Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”.

For more on the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, click here.