New and aspiring investigators often ask the same questions of experts as proposals are formulated, written, and submitted to the National Library of Medicine (NLM) for peer review. The NLM's Division of Extramural Programs (EP) provides support to medical libraries, academic medical centers, individuals, and industry through numerous types of grants and contracts. A complex set of processes and procedures is in place and is familiar to established and funded researchers, but to few others. A collection of frequently asked questions (FAQ) and their answers on these issues has been prepared by the Biomedical Library Review Committee (BLRC), a standing advisory group to the NLM that meets three times a year to review and score proposals. The BLRC and two experts on National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants and contracts compiled their advice in an electronic FAQ that has been edited and abridged as an introduction to NLM EP for investigators from medical library science, informatics, and biotechnology. The BLRC expects that if new investigators are able to avoid common mistakes and misconceptions, their proposals will improve in quality and they will be able to spend their time more effectively in proposal preparation.